Focal brain damage occurring early in development can have widespread repercussions throughout the developing brain. In living adult rhesus monkeys, we studied the long-term effects of early mesial temporo-limbic (MTL) lesions on prefrontal cortex (PFC) neurons using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (1H-MRSI), an in vive neurochemical assay technique for measuring signals from metabolites such as N-acetyl-aspartate (NAA, a neuronal marker), choline-containing compounds (CHO) and creatine + phosphocreatine (CRE). Six monkeys (NL) had undergone surgical ablation of MTL structures within 3 weeks of birth, six monkeys received the some lesion at ~5 years of age and six monkeys were normal controls. We found significant bilateral reductions of NAA relative signals exclusively in the PFC of the NL group in comparison with either of the ether groups. Our results indicate that neonatal MTL damage specifically affects PFC neurons of adult monkeys as indicated by a reduction of NAA. The basis of this effect involves developmental processes as implicated by two arguments: analogous damage during adulthood does not have the same effect; NAA in the healthy brain increases during development. This finding may have implications for understanding developmental aspects of prefrontal-temporolimbic connectivity, and the reduction of NAA levels observed in prefrontal cortex of patients with schizophrenia.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience