Use of a recombinant pseudorabies virus to analyze motor cortical reorganization after unilateral facial denervation.
The polysialylated, embryonic form of the neuronal cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM) is known to participate in a whole series of synaptic rearrangements even in adult animals. The possible role of this molecule in neuroplastic changes of the adult rat somatosensory cortex induced by unilateral transection of the infraorbital branch of the trigeminal nerve was studied with PSA-NCAM immunostaining at light microscopic level. Two- and three-month-old CFY albino rats were sacrificied on days 1, 4, 6, 14 and 21 following operation and PSA-NCAM immunoreaction was examined at three levels of the vibrissa-cortex neuraxis, namely, in the principal nucleus of the trigeminal nerve, in the ventral posteromedial nucleus of the thalamus and in the somatosensory cortex. The lower levels of the neuraxis remained free of PSA-NCAM labeling, similarly to control, intact animals. However, a large number of scattered small neurons became PSA-NCAM immunoreactive in layers IV-VI on both ipsi- and contralateral sides of the somatosensory cortex from day 6 onwards, suggesting a possible transynaptic regulation of NCAM sialylation state.