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Keywords:

  • Axonal transport;
  • Gangliosides;
  • Glycoproteins;
  • Motoneurons;
  • Rat sciatic nerve

Abstract: Axonal transport of glycoconjugates was studied in the motoneurons of rat sciatic nerve following injection of [3H]glucosamine into the lumbosacral spinal cord. After varying time intervals, the sciatic nerve was exposed, and two ligatures were tied for collection of materials undergoing anterograde and retrograde transport. Gangliosides and glycoproteins were found to undergo fast anterograde transport, estimated at 284–446 mm/day. Both classes underwent retrograde transport as well, with labeled glycoproteins returning slightly ahead of labeled gangliosides. Only minor quantities of labeled proteoglycans were detected. Purified gangliosides extracted from nerve segments were fractionated according to sialic acid number on diethylaminoethyl-Sephadex; the distributional pattern tended to resemble that of brain gangliosides. The similarity between anterograde and retrograde patterns suggested absence of metabolic changes in gangliosides entering and leaving the axon-nerve terminal structures.