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

Expression of GAP-43 mRNA in the adult mammalian spinal cord under normal conditions and after different types of lesions, with special reference to motoneurons.

In situ hybridization histochemistry was used to detect cell bodies expressing mRNA encoding for the phosphoprotein GAP-43 in the lumbosacral spinal cord of the adult rat, cat and monkey under normal conditions and, in the cat and rat, also after different types of lesions. In the normal spinal cord, a large number of neurons throughout the spinal cord gray matter were found to express GAP-43 mRNA. All neurons, both large and small, in the motor nucleus (Rexed's lamina IX) appeared labeled, indicating that both alpha and gamma motoneurons express GAP-43 mRNA under normal conditions. After axotomy by an incision in the ventral funiculus or a transection of ventral roots or peripheral nerves, GAP-43 mRNA was clearly upregulated in axotomized motoneurons, including both alpha and gamma motoneurons. An increase in GAP-43 mRNA expression was already detectable 24 h postoperatively in lumbar motoneurons both after a transection of the sciatic nerve at knee level and after a transection of ventral roots. At this time, a stronger response was seen in the motoneurons which had been subjected to the distal sciatic nerve transection than was apparent for the more proximal ventral root lesion. An upregulation of GAP-43 mRNA could also be found in intact motoneurons located on the side contralateral to the lesion, but only after a peripheral nerve transection, indicating that the concomitant influence of dorsal root afferents may play a role in GAP-43 mRNA regulation. However, a dorsal root transection alone did not seem to have any detectable influence on the expression of GAP-43 mRNA in spinal motoneurons, while the neurons located in the superficial laminae of the dorsal horn responded with an upregulation of GAP-43 mRNA. The presence of high levels of GAP-43 in neurons has been correlated with periods of axonal growth during both development and regeneration. The role for GAP-43 in neurons under normal conditions is not clear, but it may be linked with events underlying remodelling of synaptic relationships or transmitter release. Our findings provide an anatomical substrate to support such a hypothesis in the normal spinal cord, and indicate a potential role for GAP-43 in axon regeneration of the motoneurons, since GAP-43 mRNA levels was strongly upregulated following both peripheral axotomy and axotomy within the spinal cord.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Expression of GAP-43 mRNA in the adult mammalian spinal cord under normal conditions and after different types of lesions, with special reference to motoneurons. Lindå, H., Piehl, F., Dagerlind, A., Verge, V.M., Arvidsson, U., Cullheim, S., Risling, M., Ulfhake, B., Hökfelt, T. Experimental brain research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Expérimentation cérébrale. (1992) [Pubmed]
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