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Acta Physiol Scand. 1991 Jun;142(2):181-9.

A calmodulin inhibitor with high specificity, compound 48/80, inhibits axonal transport in frog nerves without disruption of axonal microtubules.

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1
Department of Animal Physiology, University of Lund, Sweden.

Abstract

The calmodulin inhibitor compound 48/80 has previously been shown to arrest axonal transport in vitro in the regenerating frog sciatic nerve. The inhibition was limited to the outgrowth region of nerves, which had been allowed to regenerate in vivo for 6 days after a crush lesion, before they were incubated with or without drugs in vitro overnight. The effects of compound 48/80 on the regenerating nerve were further investigated. A concentration of compound 48/80 (50 micrograms ml-1), which effectively inhibits axonal transport, did not cause observable changes of the microtubules of regenerating axons in the outgrowth region as judged by electron microscopy. Furthermore, it was shown that also a lower concentration (25 micrograms ml-1) inhibited axonal transport. As a measure of possible metabolic effects, the level of ATP was assessed in the regenerating nerve after exposure to compound 48/80. Compound 48/80 at 25 micrograms ml-1 did not change the level of ATP in the nerve. The assembly of bovine brain microtubule proteins in a cell-free system was unaffected by 25 micrograms ml-1 of compound 48/80 and slightly inhibited by 50 micrograms ml-1. At higher concentrations (greater than 100 micrograms ml-1) assembly of microtubules appeared stimulated, and microtubule spirals as well as closely aligned microtubules could be seen. These effects appeared to be unrelated to the transport effects. The present results indicate that compound 48/80 arrests axonal transport via mechanisms other than destruction of axonal microtubules or interference with the energy metabolism. It is possible that these mechanisms involve inhibition of calmodulin-regulated events essential to the transport.

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