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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Demyelination and axonal dystrophy in alpha A-crystallin transgenic mice.

Homozygous mice transgenic for alphaA-crystallin, one of the structural eye lens proteins, developed hindlimb paralysis after 8 weeks of age. To unravel the pathogenesis of this unexpected finding and the possible role of alphaA-crystallin in this pathological process, mice were subjected to a histopathological and immunohistochemical investigation. Immunohistochemistry showed large deposits of alphaA-crystallin in the astrocytes of the spinal cord, and in the Schwann cells of dorsal roots and sciatic nerves. Additionally, microscopy showed dystrophic axons in the spinal cord and digestion chambers as a sign of ongoing demyelination in dorsal roots and sciatic nerves. Apart from a few areas with slight alphaA-crystallin-immunopositive structures, the brain was normal. Because the alphaA-crystallin protein expression appeared in specific cells of the nervous system (astrocytes and Schwann cells), the most plausible explanation for the paralysis is a disturbance of cell function caused by the excessive intracytoplasmic accumulation of the alphaA-crystallin protein. This is followed by a sequence of secondary changes (demyelination, axonal dystrophy) and finally arthrosis. In conclusion, alphaA-crystallin transgenic mice develop a peripheral and central neuropathy primarily affecting spinal cord areas at the dorsal side, dorsal root and sciatic nerve.[1]


  1. Demyelination and axonal dystrophy in alpha A-crystallin transgenic mice. De Rijk, E.P., Van Rijk, A.F., Van Esch, E., De Jong, W.W., Wesseling, P., Bloemendal, H. International journal of experimental pathology. (2000) [Pubmed]
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