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International Journal of Morphology

versión On-line ISSN 0717-9502


OLIVARES, R et al. Neuronal Density in Primary Visual Cortex (17 Visual Area), in Two Species of Octodon. Int. J. Morphol. [online]. 2010, vol.28, n.1, pp.249-253. ISSN 0717-9502.

Studies show that environmental modifications can produce profound alterations in the normal development of the visual cortex and its connectivity. For the other hand it is possible that in natural conditions, animal species have developed genetic adaptations to the different conditions of luminance in which they normally behave. Recently have observed significant changes in cortical neuronal density of area 17 (primary visual area), in two sympatric Chilean rodents with different daily activity (Phyllotis darwini and Abrothrix olivaceus), but have not yet determined the genetic nature or plastic such differences. In this paper we compared species with a closer phylogenetic relation so as to minimize the taxonomic variable. We studied the primary visual cortex (area 17) of wild rodents native of the species Octodon degus (n=5) and Octodon bridgesi (n=3), belonging to the Octodontidae family, in order to show changes in the neuronal density, using celloidin-embedded, 40µm-thickness Nissl sections, with the aid of an optical dissector. In addition, we performed a quantification of the neuronal density of the motor cortex of the species under study. O. degus, bearing a crepuscular-diurnal activity pattern, showed a lower neuronal density in the visual cortex (34.32 ± 2.51 x104 neuron/mm3) than that observed in O. bridgesi (39.55 ± 0.64 x104 neuron/mm3), a species that exhibits a nocturnal phase preference, which was statistically significant (t=3.44; p<0.05). These differences might be related to differences in daily activity in two species, but we cannot discount the influence of other factors.

Palabras clave : Cerebral cortex; Visual cortex; Neuronal density.

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