The neural projection of the lateral septum (LS) to the rostral mesencephalic central gray (MCG) is sexually dimorphic and plays an important role in inhibiting female reproductive behavior. In this experiment, development of the LS-MCG connection from birth to 15 days after birth was examined in female rats by a tract-tracing method with DiI. On the birth day (D1 rat), and 5, 10 or 15 days after birth (D5, D10 or D15 rat, respectively) or 8 weeks after birth (adult), the brain was fixed by perfusion of a mixture of 4% PFA and 0.1% glutaraldehyde. DiI was pasted on the coronally cut-surface of the LS and the sample was incubated in PFA at 40 °C for up to 4 months. After incubation, 200-μm frozen parasagital sections were prepared and observed by fluorescence microscopy. As a result, numerous DiI labeled fibers were found in the preoptic area, the anterior and posterior hypothalamus, and the MCG in adult rats. In D1 rats, several labeled axons extended caudal to the anterior hypothalamic area. In D5 rats, a few labeled fibers reached the MCG. Some labeled fibers were observed in the rostral MCG of D10 rats. In D15 rats, a considerable number of labeled fibers were seen to reach the rostral MCG and relative density of the fibers was comparable to that of adult. These results suggest that the neural pathway from the LS to the rostral MCG develops acutely during the period from 5-10 days up to more than 15 days after birth.
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