Dependence of cytochrome oxidase activity in the rat lateral geniculate nucleus on retinal innervation
Journal of Comparative Neurology 262(1): 78-89
ISSN/ISBN: 0021-9967 PMID: 3040814 DOI: 10.1002/cne.902620107
Patterns of cytochrome oxidase (CO) activity were examined histochemically in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (LGNd) and retina of pigmented rats. CO staining was not uniform and was distributed in a pattern similar to that of retinal afferents. Portions of the LGNd receiving an exclusively crossed projection were moderately reactive whereas regions receiving an uncrossed or overlapping crossed and uncrossed projection were darkly reactive. The dependence of oxidative metabolic activity in the LGNd on retinal innervation was verified in animals with unilateral enucleation. In adults, chronic monocular enucleation led to a decrease in CO staining in portions of the LGNd deprived of retinal input; in animals enucleated at birth, normal patterns of CO reactivity failed to develop and both LGNds had a more uniform pattern of moderate CO staining. Most neurons in the ganglion cell layer of the retina were moderately reactive for CO. However, there were approximately 3,000 darkly reactive cells, most of which appear to be ganglion cells. The darkly reactive cells were more numerous in the peripheral temporal retina. The laminar pattern of CO staining in the retina was similar to that described previously for carnivores and primates. The most reactive laminae were the inner and outer plexiform layers and the photoreceptor inner segments. Within the inner plexiform layer, sublamina a was more darkly stained than sublamina b. These results suggest that the physiological properties of crossed and uncrossed visual pathways in rats are functionally dissimilar at the level of both the retina and the LGNd.