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In rats, morphological and synaptic maturation of the striatum, a brain area involved in the control of movement and in cognitive behaviour, proceeds for several weeks postnatally. Little is known, however, about the molecular events associated with the final maturation of the striatum. In particular, there is little information on molecules playing a role in cell adhesion, a phenomenon of particular importance for neuronal development. We have examined the time course and topography of expression of the highly polysialylated form of the neural cell adhesion molecule in the rat striatum during postnatal development and in the adult, and compared it to growth-associated protein-43, a marker of axonal growth. As earlier during development [Aaron L. I. and Chesselet M.-F. (1989) Neuroscience 28, 701-710], immunolabelling for polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule was very intense in the entire striatum at postnatal days 17-19. At postnatal days 21 and 22, loss of polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule immunoreactivity in the caudal part of the striatum contrasted with the persistence of immunoreactivity at more rostral levels. Most of the striatum was devoid of polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule immunoreactivity by postnatal day 25. At this age, as well as in the striatum of adult rats, immunolabelling was only observed along the ventricular edge of the striatum. In contrast to polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule immunoreactivity, immunolabelling for growth-associated protein-43 had reached its adult pattern by postnatal day 17, indicating that polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule persists beyond the period of major axonal growth. In the adult, an area of stronger growth associated protein-43 immunoreactivity overlapped with the region which retained immunoreactivity to polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule. The results indicate that, in the developing rat striatum, the neural cell adhesion molecule remains highly sialylated not only during the ingrowth of cortical and nigral inputs but also during the formation of dendritic spine and synaptogenesis. Loss of polysialyated neural cell adhesion molecule occurs at the time of emerging spontaneous activity in cerebral cortex, and precedes the development of mature responses to cortical stimulation and adult membrane properties in a majority of striatal neurons.


Journal article



Publication Date





133 - 144


Animals, Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal, Female, GAP-43 Protein, Immunoblotting, Immunohistochemistry, Male, Membrane Glycoproteins, Neostriatum, Nerve Tissue Proteins, Neurofilament Proteins, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Sialic Acids