We investigated age-related morphological changes of rat motoneurons innervating diaphragm muscle (DI-MN) and lumber longissimus muscle (LL-MN) in which quite different activation patterns exist. In young (2-4 months) and old (24-26 months) rats, the motoneurons innervating both muscles were labelled retrogradely by intramuscular injection of cholera toxin B subunit. After a 4-day survival, horizontal slices of the spinal cord were processed with immunohistochemical staining (first antibody to cholera toxin B subunit and second antibody with Cy3) and observed with a confocal microscope. Three-dimensional reconstruction of labelled motoneurons was performed to examine soma and dendrite morphology. As compared to the soma volume in young rats, significantly smaller values were found in old rats in both motoneurons and the degrees of decline were 16.1% in DI-MN and 20.3% in LL-MN. Significant decreases in the thickness of primary dendrites were also found in both motoneurons, and the degrees of decline were 17.5% in DI-MN and 22.3% in LL-MN. Smaller changes were found in DI-MN than in LL-MN, indicating the possibility that increased activation by central drives can attenuate age-related morphological changes of the motor system in the spinal cord.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Journal of Veterinary Medicine Series C: Anatomia Histologia Embryologia|
|Publication status||Published - 2008 Oct|
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