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

Alterations to neuronal polarity following permanent axotomy: a quantitative analysis of changes to MAP2a/b and GAP-43 distributions in axotomized motoneurons in the adult cat.

Following axotomy, morphologically unusual, distal processes (UDPs) emerge from motoneuron dendrites. These processes contain an axonal protein, growth-associated protein 43 (GAP-43) but lack immunostaining for the dendritic protein microtubule-associated protein 2a/b (MAP2a/b). Thus, it appears that neuronal polarity alters following axotomy. Our goal was to describe this change in neuronal polarity on a more detailed and quantitative level. We asked two questions: Following axotomy, where in the entire neuron does the immunoreactivity for MAP2a/b and GAP-43 change and do these changes reflect a transformation of dendrite to axon or growth from terminal dendrites? Using intracellular labeling and immunocytochemistry, changes in MAP2a/b and GAP-43 immunoreactivity were also found in processes with a morphology typical of terminal branches of intact motoneurons (called simple distal processes [SDPs]), as well as UDPs. Trajectories (the path from the soma to a single terminus) with UDPs and SDPs were longer than trajectories without these processes, and trajectories with UDPs were the longest. Trajectories without UDPs or SDPs were similar in length to trajectories from intact motoneurons. The distance from the soma to the point where MAP2a/b immunoreactivity became absent in trajectories with UDPs or SDPs was similar to the length of trajectories from intact motoneurons. Thus, following axotomy, two morphologically distinct types of axon-like processes emerge from dendrites. The formation of these processes does not involve a transformation of the original dendrite, but rather growth at the ends of dendrites.[1]


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