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Influence of spinal cord transection on the presence and axonal transport of CGRP-, chromogranin A-, VIP-, synapsin I-, and synaptophysin-like immunoreactivities in rat motor nerve

Journal article
Authors Jia-Yi Li
Anne Kling-Petersen
Annica Dahlström
Published in J Neurobiol
Volume 23
Issue 8
Pages 1094-110
ISSN 0022-3034 (Print)
Publication year 1992
Published at Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology
Pages 1094-110
Language en
Keywords Acetylcholinesterase/metabolism, Animals, Axonal Transport/*physiology, *Decerebrate State, Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Male, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Motor Neurons/*metabolism, Neuropeptides/immunology/*metabolism, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Sciatic Nerve/cytology/enzymology/metabolism, Spinal Cord/cytology/metabolism, Synaptic Vesicles/enzymology/metabolism
Subject categories Cell and Molecular Biology


Using immunofluorescence and cytofluorimetric scanning (CFS), we investigated the short-term (1-7 days) influence of lower thoracic spinal cord transection on lumbar motor neurons. The content of calcitonin gene-related peptide- (CGRP) like immunoreactivity (LI), chromogranin A (Chr A)-LI, vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP)-LI, Syn I-LI, and synaptophysin (p38)-LI in motor perikarya, and the anterograde and retrograde axonal transport of these substances in the sciatic nerve, were studied in nerve crush (6 h) experiments. During the week after transection, CGRP-LI in perikarya decreased, whereas Chr A-LI increased. VIP-LI, co-localized with Chr A-LI in motor perikarya, did not change after transection. The antero- and retrograde transport of CGRP-LI in the sciatic nerve, occurring in both motor and sensory axons, appeared unchanged in cytofluorimetric scanning (CFS) graphs, but the microscopical picture clearly showed that large motor axons had a decreased content of CGRP-LI at 3 and 7 days posttransection, whereas thinner axons were unchanged in fluorescence intensity. The anterograde transport of Chr A-LI, present in both motor and postganglionic adrenergic axons, was decreased 1 and 3 days after lesion, but returned to control by day 7. There was a marked decrease in anterograde transport of VIP-LI, present mainly in postganglionic sympathetic axons, at day 3, but at 7 days transport was normal. The amounts of transported p38, the synaptic vesicle marker, were in the normal range during the whole period. Syn I-LI accumulation anterogradely was somewhat decreased at 3 and 7 days posttransection, and at 1 day the retrograde accumulation was significantly increased. The results suggest that removal of supraspinal input to intact lower motor neurons causes alterations in metabolism and axonal transport of organelle-associated substances, partly probably related to the complex pattern of transmitter leakage from degenerating, descending nerve terminals. These alterations appear to take place also in postganglionic sympathetic neurons in the sciatic nerve, that originate in the lumbar sympathetic chain.

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