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Journal of Neural Transplantation
Volume 1, Issue 2, Pages 57-62

Fetal Medial Habenula Transplants: Innervation of the Rat Interpeduncular Nucleus

1Division of Pediatric Neurology, Box 394, University of Virginia Medical Center, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA
2Laboratory of Neurobiology and Development, National Institute for Medical Research, London, United Kingdom

Copyright © 1989 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The effects of donor age and site of placement on the survival of fetal medial habenula (MH) transplants into adult rats hosts were examined. The innervation of the interpeduncular nucleus (IPN) in such cases was also examined. Explants of MH consisting of the medial-dorsal lip of the third ventricle were held in vitro for 1—2 days. Colloidal gold conjugated to wheat germ agglutinin was added for the last 18 hours to label the cells. Four of 16 cases with E19 derived transplants contained donor neurons. Markedly larger transplants were present in 95% of 20 cases with E16 derived transplants. Sites in the ventral midbrain were successful, while limited or no survival occurred at sites more remote from IPN. Retrograde labeling of transplant neurons was present in each case studied with HRP injection into host IPN. Colloidal gold-labeled macrophages, some oriented capillaries and GFAP-positive processes marked the donor-host interface. In EM the interface was evident only by the difference in tissue elements in the transplant versus host. Numerous synapses of Gray types I and II were present in the transplant. Excellent survival of MH neurons, donor/host interfaces, innervation of IPN by the transplant and fine structure in and around the transplants, all suggest that such preparations are suitable for further experimental analysis of the habenulo-interpeduncular system.