The effect of destroying the whisker follicles in mice on the sensory nerve, the thalamocortical radiation and cortical barrel development

Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Containing Papers of a Biological Character
P M Waite, B G Cragg


Electrolytic destruction of whisker follicles in mice on the day of birth has been found to cause degeneration in the sensory nerve fibres supplying the follicles. The severity of the degeneration has been assessed in animals between 2 and 20 days old by counting the total number of myelinated fibres in the maxillary nerves on both normal and lesioned sides. The degeneration is apparent after 2 days and by 20 days the nerve on the lesioned side contains only 38% of the normal fibre content. This degeneration has also been shown to involve the trigeminal root, central to the ganglion. In addition, the lesioning procedure modifies the terminations of thalamocortical fibres in the barrel region of the sensory cortex. These terminations are normally in clusters, each corresponding to a barrel, but, after lesioning the follicles, the terminals appear to be evenly distributed in layer IV and cortical barrel structures no longer develop. In postnatal mice, electrolytic destruction of whisker follicles had less effect upon maxillary nerve fibres and cortical barrels. The number of myelinated axons surviving until day 20 increased progressively with later lesioning to reach nearly 80% of the control level when lesions were made on day 1...Continue Reading


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Barrel cortex

Here is the latest research on barrel cortex, a region of somatosensory and motor corticies in the brain, which are used by animals that rely on whiskers for world exploration.