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Keywords:

  • CNS;
  • lesion;
  • neurite regrowth;
  • neurite growth inhibitor;
  • myelin

Abstract

Following transection of the postcommissural fornix in the adult rat, fibres retract from the lesion zone but then start to regrow within their former pathway up to the lesion site, where they terminate. The fibres neither penetrate nor bypass this region. In order to define the molecular mechanisms that cause regenerative failure at the lesion site, we analysed the spatiotemporal relationship between clearance/re-expression of myelin constituents and axon sprouting. Using immunocytochemical methods, we investigated the distribution of myelin-associated growth inhibitor (Nl-35/250) and myelin basic protein after transection of the postcommissural fornix. In the studies described here we demonstrate the sequential removal of neurofilaments and myelin constituents in a perilesion zone and at the lesion site. The removal of myelin constituents was followed by the extensive regrowth of fornix fibres in the proximal segment. However, these fibres stopped at the lesion site, an area that lacked immunostaining for Nl-35/250 and. In the distal stump we observed the disappearance of neurofilament along the entire fornix segment but spatial differences in the removal of myelin constituents. While both NI-35/250 and myelin basic protein disappeared in the perilesion zone, they persisted in the more distal segment for at least 28 months after lesion. In conclusion, our study indicates that the onset of axon sprouting is correlated with the removal of myelin basic protein and NI-35/250. Furthermore, we suggest that it seems unlikely that the myelin growth inhibitor NI-35/250 constitutes the stop signal of the axon growth barrier in the transected fornix.