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J Neurochem. 1991 Dec;57(6):1913-20.

Axonal transport reversal of acetylcholinesterase molecular forms in transected nerve.

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  • 1INSERM U. 334, Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, Orsay, France.


Reversal of anterograde rapid axonal transport of four molecular forms of acetylcholinesterase (AChE) was studied in chick sciatic nerve during the 24-h period following a nerve transection. Reversal of AChE activity started approximately 1 h after nerve transection, and all the forms of the enzyme, except the monomeric ones, showed reversal of transport. The quantity of enzyme activity reversed 24 h after transection was twofold greater than that normally conveyed by retrograde transport. We observed no leakage of the enzyme at the site of the nerve transection and no reversal of AChE activity transport in the distal segment of the severed nerve, a result indicating that the material carried by retrograde axonal transport cannot be reversed by axotomy. Thus, a nerve transection induces both quantitative and qualitative changes in the retrograde axonal transport, which could serve as a signal of distal injury to the cell body. The velocity of reverse transport, measured within 6 h after transection, was found to be 213 mm/day, a value close to that of retrograde transport (200 mm/day). This suggests that the reversal taking place in severed sciatic nerve is similar to the anterograde-to-retrograde conversion process normally occurring at the nerve endings.

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