Adult albino rats received callosotomies or lesions in the paracingular cortex. Between 12 h and 3 months after injury the structure and topography of the degeneration products were studied by light- and electron-microscopy. The degeneration process was quantified by television-image analysis applied to sections prepared according to a new technique that stains reliably degenerating terminals and lysosomes (Gallyas et al. 1980). All types of cortico-cortical connections show a multiphasic degeneration process: During a precursor stage a small number of dense bodies and mitochondrial granules are stained. These and the few early degenerating axon terminals are much more diffusely distributed than the large number of terminals that degenerate during the following period. The terminal degeneration shows a biphasic time course. One maximum appears at 2-7 days post operation, which corresponds to the well known direct consequence of axotomy. The second peak at 10-20 days post operation could be caused by transneuronal reorganization of the cortical connectivity. Terminal degeneration always begins along the borders between cortical regions and areas, but it may change its laminar and columnar distribution pattern during the second phase. The degeneration products that are phagocytosed by astrocytes seem to be removed by intracellular transport to their perivascular endfeet. The degeneration process ends with fiber degeneration which, especially in laminae I and VI, may form a separate peak after 20 days or more.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine
- Cell Biology
- Cortico-cortical connections
- Time course