Exposure of fetal rats to X-irradiation at a dose of 1.5 Gy on gestational day 15 results in severe microcephaly. In these X-irradiated rats with microcephaly, a possible alteration of local circuits in the somatosensory cortex was examined using a fluorescent dye, DiI. The dye was placed at the superficial part of the transversely sectioned somatosensory cortex just beneath the pial surface of both the control and X-irradiated rats on postnatal day 11. In the controls, DiI-labeled fibers showed a layer-dependent distribution in the somatosensory cortex, whereas in the X-irradiated rats, this layer-dependent distribution of DiI-labeled fibers was distorted. Furthermore, the fasciculus observed beneath cortical layer VI (white matter), which was made of DiI-labeled axons originating from the cortical neurons, was well developed in the controls. On the other hand, in the X-irradiated rats, the fasciculus made of DiI-labeled fibers was split, reduced in number, and irregularly distributed. These observation suggest that prenatal exposure of fetal rats to X-irradiation may affect the development of local circuits in the cerebral cortex, and may also damage the axonal projection of cortical neurons to the thalamus.
|Number of pages||3|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 1997|