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Structural plasticity in the rat supraoptic nucleus during gestation, post-partum lactation and suckling-induced pseudogestation and lactation.

Authors
  • Montagnese, C M
  • Poulain, D A
  • Vincent, J D
  • Theodosis, D T
Type
Published Article
Journal
The Journal of endocrinology
Publication Date
Oct 01, 1987
Volume
115
Issue
1
Pages
97–105
Identifiers
PMID: 3668451
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

In the supraoptic nucleus (SON) of parturient and lactating rats, large portions of the surface membranes of almost all oxytocinergic neurons are directly juxtaposed with no glial interposition. A significant number of the same neurones are also contacted by the same presynaptic terminal ('double' synapses). Our present observations have revealed that direct appositions between adjacent neurons in the SON increase quite rapidly during the day before parturition. 'Double' synapses also become visible during late gestation, but they appear more progressively. Earlier studies have shown that 1 month after weaning, as in virgin rats, there are again very few appositions and 'double' synapses in the nucleus. We show here that the SON can remain structurally modified, and to the same degree, beyond normal weaning time so long as lactation is prolonged by renewing suckling litters. However, if the mothers are deprived of their pups immediately after birth, neuronal appositions disappear within 2 days and 'double' synapses by 10 days. In non-pregnant primiparous rats, continuous exposure to suckling litters leads to pseudogestation and eventually lactation (in 16-22 days). Examination of the SON in such animals revealed that the oxytocinergic system is already modified by day 12 of dioestrus; during suckling-induced lactation, the anatomical changes are identical to those seen during a normal post-partum lactation. These observations indicate that neither gestation nor suckling alone are indispensable for the anatomical reorganization of the SON apparent at lactation.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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