Author(s): Borke RC, Curtis M, Ginsberg C
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Abstract This study examined changes in choline acetyltransferase and calcitonin gene-related peptide immunoreactivity in hypoglossal motoneurons of rats at 1, 3, 7, 20 and 50 days after three types of nerve injury: crush, transection and resection. Peripheral reinnervation was assayed by retrograde labelling of the motoneurons after injections of the exogenous protein, horseradish peroxidase, into the tongue. Maximal reduction in choline acetyltransferase immunostaining occurred at seven days after nerve damage and the amount of the decrease was related to the nature of the injury. The recovery of choline acetyltransferase to normal levels was related to the timing of reinnervation after nerve crush, but not after transection or resection injuries. In contrast to these findings, a rapid increase in calcitonin gene-related peptide immunoreactivity preceded the decrease in choline acetyltransferase levels. A striking increase in calcitonin gene-related peptide immunoreactivity was observed at one day postoperative and was maximal at three days postoperatively for all injuries. Later changes in calcitonin gene-related peptide levels were dependent on the type injury. Increased calcitonin gene-related peptide staining persisted to 20 days after nerve crush. After nerve transection or resection, calcitonin gene-related peptide immunoreactivity decreased to basal levels at seven days postoperatively. This declination was followed by a second rise in calcitonin gene-related peptide immunolabeling at 20 days for nerve transection or 50 days after resection. Nearly complete reinnervation was established by 20 days after nerve crush. At 50 days after transection, less than half the number of normally-labelled neurons contained horseradish peroxidase. At this time only 1\% of those whose axons had been resected were labelled. These observations suggest that different mechanisms regulate the responses of choline acetyltransferase and calcitonin gene-related peptide to nerve injury. The present results indicate that choline acetyltransferase levels in motoneurons can not be used to predict either the likelihood of or the timing of reinnervation after nerve transection or resection. However, our results strengthen the premise that an increased of calcitonin gene-related peptide immunoreactivity serves as a reliable index for predicting nerve regeneration/reinnervation after cranial nerve injury.
This article was published in J Neurocytol
and referenced in International Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation