Abstract— Orthograde and retrograde axonal transport were studied in rat sciatic nerves which had been crushed and either allowed to regenerate, or prevented from doing so by tightly ligaturing the nerve. At various intervals after crushing the nerve. L-[3H]leucine was injected into the lumbosacral spinal cord. and the subsequent transport of labeled protein in motoneuron axons was quantitated by measuring the accumulation of labeled protein at collection crushes made proximal to the original nerve crush.
Accumulations proximal to the collection crushes (orthograde transport) 9-11 h after injection (p.i.). decreased within I day of nerve injury, but returned to normal values as regeneration proceeded. In non-regenerating nerves accumulations remained depressed for at least 30 days.
Accumulations distal to the collection crushes (retrograde transport) 9-11 h pi. increased over the first 5 days following injury but returned to normal values as regeneration proceeded. In non-regenerating nerves accumulations remained elevated. The time-course of retrograde transport of newly-synthesized protein also returned to normal during nerve regeneration.
It is suggested that changes in retrograde transport during regeneration may inform the neuron cell body of the progress of regeneration and elicit appropriate metabolic responses. among which may be the changes in orthograde transport that follow axotomy.