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Keywords:

  • peripheral nerve;
  • mutation;
  • Wallerian degeneration;
  • macrophage;
  • chimaera

Abstract

We have described a mutant mouse, C57BL/Ola, in which Wallerian degeneration following peripheral nerve transection is very slow. Our previous results suggested that recruited monocytes play a role in rapid Wallerian degeneration. The nature of the mutation in C57BL/Ola mice is not known and we have investigated whether the defect is intrinsic to the nerve or due to a defect in the circulating monocytes. We have made chimaeric mice in which bone marrow from histocompatible mice, with rapidly degenerating nerves and normal monocyte recruitment, was used to reconstitute irradiated C57BL/Ola mice and vice-versa. A substantial degree of donor repopulation of the hosts was confirmed by measures of the levels of glucose-phosphate isomerase alloenzymes in blood and tissue samples from the two different strains. The rate of degeneration of the transected sciatic nerve was found to be host-dependent, providing evidence that the mutation affects cell populations intrinsic to the nerve and not the circulating monocytes. We provide additional evidence that the peripheral nerves of C57BL/Ola mice are different from those of other mice as they degenerate at a slower rate in vitro.