RESEARCH NETWORK ON EARLY EXPERIENCE AND BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

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Analysis of Developing Amygdaloid Circuitry Using Transynaptic Passage of Pseudorabies Virus (PRV)

In one of our studies, Network researchers are using an innovative technique to examine the development of the circuits of neurons extending to and from the amygdala. Using this method, we have learned that the amygdala (in certain Mammalian species) has already developed connections to the autonomic nervous system in the first week of life. It is known from previous experiments that the development of this neural system is affected by experience, and now it is known that connections in this system are present very early in development. The findings of these experiments have great importance for advancing the Network's mission of assessing the effects of experience upon brain development. In performing these studies, the investigators have developed the first and currently the only known method for tracking the assembly of a complex neuronal circuit during development.

Card, J.P. (2001) Pseudorabies virus noninvasiveness: A window into the functional organization of the brain. Advances in Virus Research, 56:39-71.

Rinaman, L., Levitt, P., Card, J.P. Progressive postnatal assembly of limbic-autonomic circuits revealed by central transneuronal transport of pseudorabies virus. Journal of Neuroscience. 20(7): 2731-2741 (2000).

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SPONSORED BY

The John D and Catherine T MacArthur Foundation

The James S McDonnell Foundation