Detection of retrogradely transported WGA-HRP in axotomized adult hamster facial motoneurons occurs after initiation of the axon reaction

Christopher B. Huppenbauer, Lisa Tanzer, Kathryn J. Jones

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8 Scopus citations


We have previously shown that facial nerve transection at the stylomastoid foramen activates ribosomal RNA transcription in injured facial motoneurons (FMN) of the adult hamster within 30 minutes postoperative. The signal for the initiation of the nerve cell body response to injury in vertebrates is currently unknown. It has been hypothesized that the signal for initiating the injury response is dependent on retrograde transport, where the signal itself is either the loss of a repressor substance from the periphery or the loss of retrogradely transported target-derived factors. To examine if a retrograde transport-mediated signal would be sufficient to produce the rapid ribosomal effects observed in hamster FMN following injury, adult hamsters were subjected to right facial nerve axotomies, with the neuronal tracer wheat germ agglutinin horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP; M.W. 80,000) applied at the proximal stump of the transected nerve. At time points ranging from 0.5 to 24 hours postoperative (hpo), the animals were killed and brainstem sections containing bilateral facial nuclei processed for WGA-HRP label using the TMB method. The earliest time point at which WGA-HRP was detected in the axotomized facial nucleus occurred at 3 hpo. To eliminate molecular weight as a confounding factor, an additional retrograde transport study was performed using the smaller tracer, Fluoro-Gold (M.W. 532.59). Fluoro-Gold was not detected until well after the 3 hpo time point. Thus, it appears that initiation of the axon reaction in hamster FMN is likely to be independent of the retrograde transport properties of the injured neuron.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-916
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neurocytology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2002


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology

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