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

Cutaneous and sympathetic denervation in neonatal rats with a mutation in the delta subunit of the cytosolic chaperonin-containing t-complex peptide-1 gene.

The mutilated-foot rat (mf rat) is an autosomal recessive mutant with characteristic digit deformities in adult animals, and this phenotype mimics many aspects of human sensory neuropathy. The genetics of mf rats was recently elucidated. To understand whether the genotype is responsible for cutaneous denervation before clinically overt mutilation in adult mf rats, we investigated skin innervation in postnatal day 7 (P7) mf rats and compared the patterns with P7 wild-type rats. The mf rat carries a G-->A mutation in the gene encoding the delta subunit of the cytosolic chaperonin-containing t-complex peptide-1 (Cct4). In the footpad skin of P7 mf rats, there was a >90% loss of epidermal nerves (0.7-7.9% of P7 wild-type rats) as indicated by neuronal markers including protein gene product 9.5 ( PGP 9.5), growth-associated protein 43 (GAP43), calcitonin gene-related peptide ( CGRP), and substance P ( SP). The epidermis of hairy skin in hind feet was completely denervated in mf rats as well. Compared with an approximately 80% reduction in the size of dermal nerve fascicles and a parallel loss of nerve fibers, the nearly complete absence of epidermal innervation suggests further sensory nerve degeneration at the level of nerve terminals in the epidermis. In contrast, the loss of epidermal nerves in the abdominal skin of mf rats was less extensive than that in the footpad skin of mf rats; CGRP (+) and SP (+) fibers were moderately reduced (28.3-56.4% of levels of wild-type rats) with normal amounts of PGP 9.5 (+) and GAP43 (+) nerves. Sympathetic innervation as assessed by tyrosine hydroxylase immunoreactivity was absent from the footpad and abdominal skin of mf rats. In conclusion, there is regional skin denervation with diffuse sympathetic denervation in P7 mf rats. These results suggest that the mutation in Cct4 underlies cutaneous nerve degeneration in mf rats.[1]


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