The Effectiveness of the Gene Which Slows the Rate of Wallerian Degeneration in C57BL/Ola Mice Declines With Age


V. H. Perry and M. C. Brown, as above


The rate of Wallerian degeneration is unusually slow in severed axons of mice of the C57BL/Ola strain. Within mice of that strain we have now found that the rate of degeneration increases with the age of the animal. In 4-week-old mice nerve stimulation evokes muscle contractions even 5 days after sciatic nerve section and compound action potentials can be recorded in the distal nerve stump up to 3 weeks after section. In 1-year-old animals no action potentials can be excited 5 days after nerve section. Heterozygous mice carrying only one copy of the dominant gene show the same age-related decline in viability of the distal nerve stump after axotomy, and the rate of decline is no greater than for homozygous mice. The more rapid rate of degeneration of severed axons of mice of the C57BL/6J strain was affected in the opposite way by age, degeneration occurring more slowly in older animals.