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J Neurocytol. 1984 Feb;13(1):165-82.

Regeneration of long spinal axons in the rat.


To investigate regeneration of long spinal axons, the right lateral column of the rat spinal cord was cut at high cervical, low cervical, midthoracic or lumbar level, and one end of an autologous sciatic nerve segment was grafted to the spinal cord at the site of incision. Three to six months after operation, the origin of axons in the grafts was traced retrogradely with horseradish peroxidase injected into the grafts and, in some cases, anterogradely with radioautography of tritiated amino acids injected into the brainstem. Axons from each of the major lateral spinal tracts arising in the brainstem as well as axons ascending from the lower spinal cord succeeded in growing into low cervical grafts. However, long descending axons rarely regenerated after midthoracic or lumbar injury; axons ascending from lumbar segments of the spinal cord usually failed to enter high cervical grafts. Differences in axonal regrowth at the four segmental levels were not simply attributable to dwindling of axonal number in fibre tracts. Axonal regeneration from Clarke's column or the red nucleus was observed only with lesions causing atrophy of many neurons. There was no obvious example of a fibre tract in the lateral spinal columns from which axons failed to regenerate nor from which axons regenerated exceptionally well. Under the conditions of these experiments, the distance from cell body to injury appeared to be an important determinant of axonal regeneration.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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