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Acta Neuropathol. 2003 Nov;106(5):458-70. Epub 2003 Jul 31.

Distal effects in a model of proximal axonopathy: 3,3'-iminodipropionitrile causes specific loss of neurofilaments in rat vestibular afferent endings.

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Departament de Ciències Fisiològiques II, Universitat de Barcelona, c/Feixa Llarga s/n, 08907, L'Hospitalet de Llobregat, Spain.


3,3'-Iminodipropionitrile (IDPN) is a neurotoxic compound that causes both a proximal neurofilamentous axonopathy and loss of the vestibular sensory hair cells. We used immunocytochemistry to examine changes in the expression of heavy, medium and light neurofilament (NF-H, NF-M, NF-L) proteins in the afferent terminals of vestibular sensory epithelia after IDPN exposure in rats. Acute, repeated and subchronic IDPN exposure induced a marked loss of NFs in the nerve terminals. The effect of subchronic IDPN was specific, as demonstrated by comparison with the synaptic membrane protein SNAP-25. In addition, Western blot analysis indicated specific loss of NFs in the vestibular receptors. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that afferent endings in the vestibular receptors were significantly preserved in animals exposed to subchronic IDPN, but that these endings showed NF segregation from microtubules followed by NF loss. These effects were closely paralleled by ultrastructural changes in the nerve terminals, particularly in the afferent contacts with the hair cells, and preceded hair cell loss. Thus, distal NF loss and nerve terminal pathology occur in the IDPN model of proximal neurofilamentous axonopathy. Similar distal pathology could also occur in human diseases characterized by proximal axonal swellings, particularly in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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