Perinatal asphyxia impairs connectivity and dopamine neurite branching in organotypic triple culture from rat substantia nigra, neostriatum and neocortex
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The effect of perinatal asphyxia on brain development was studied with organotypic cultures from substantia nigra, neostriatum and neocortex. Asphyxia was induced by immersing foetuses-containing uterine horns removed from ready-to-deliver rats into a water bath for 20 min. Following asphyxia, the pups were nursed by a surrogate dam and sacrificed after 3 days to prepare organotypic cultures. Nonasphyxiated caesarean-delivered pups were used as controls. Morphological features were recorded during in vitro development. At day in vitro (DIV) 24, the cultures were treated for histochemistry using fast red for cell nucleus labelling and antibodies against tyrosine hydroxylase for dopaminergic neurons. Compared to controls, cultures from asphyxiated pups revealed a diminished integration quantified during 21 DIV. After immunocytochemistry and camera lucida reconstruction, tyrosine hydroxylase-positive neurons showed a decreased number of neurites from secondary and higher level branching, demonstrating a vulnerability of the dopaminergic systems after perinatal asphyxia.