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Neuroscience. 2004;128(4):741-9.

Polyamines increase in sympathetic neurons and non-neuronal cells after axotomy and enhance neurite outgrowth in nerve growth factor-primed PC12 cells.

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1
Department of Neurosciences, Case Western Reserve University, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106-4975, USA.

Abstract

Following axonal damage, sympathetic neurons are capable of regenerating and reinnervating their target tissues. Some years ago exogenous administration of polyamines was shown to enhance this regeneration. Recently, it was found that axonal injury leads to a dramatic up-regulation of the expression of arginase I in sympathetic neurons. This enzyme catalyzes the conversion of arginine to ornithine, which can subsequently be converted to the diamine putrescine and, ultimately, to the polyamines spermidine and spermine. In the present study, using an antiserum that reacts with both spermidine and spermine, we have found an increase in polyamine levels in both neurons and non-neuronal cells in the superior cervical ganglion 2 and 5 days following transection of the ganglion's postganglionic trunks. Using PC12 cells primed with nerve growth factor and then stripped off the culture dish and replated as a model system for axotomized sympathetic neurons, we found that spermidine treatment, with or without nerve growth factor, resulted in an increased percentage of cells with a neurite whose length was at least twice the diameter of the neuron's cell body. These increases could be seen within 48 h and were still evident after 8 days. Together, these data support the possibility that endogenous polyamines are involved in the normal regeneration which occurs following sympathetic axonal damage.

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