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The role of target innervation for maintenance of synaptic proteins in the hippocampal formation during aging was investigated. Fetal CA1 tissue and brainstem tissue containing the nucleus locus coeruleus was dissected from albino rats and grafted sequentially into the anterior chamber of the eye of adult rat recipients. Synapsin protein distribution and levels were evaluated by immunohistochemistry and quantitative immunolabeling in single hippocampal grafts or brainstem-hippocampal double grafts at 6, 12, or 24 mo postgrafting. The synapsin levels in 6-mo-old single hippocampal transplants were significantly lower than those in situ, and remained at these lower levels at 12 and 24 mo. On the contrary, synapsin levels were close to normal in the hippocampal portion of double grafts in the 6- and the 12-mo-group. However, in the 24-mo-old double transplants the levels had declined significantly, approaching levels seen in single hippocampal grafts. The immunoblot results were supported by morphological observations with synapsin antibodies and immunohistochemistry. The present data demonstrate that hippocampal tissue maintained near normal synapsin levels when grafted together with brainstem tissue, as compared to the lower levels seen in single hippocampal grafts. This normalization of synapsin levels was, however, not seen in the aged hippocampal-brainstem double grafts.


Journal article


Cell Transplant

Publication Date





3 - 12


Aging, Animals, Brain Stem, Cell Transplantation, Eye, Fetal Tissue Transplantation, Graft Survival, Hippocampus, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Synapsins