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Axonal shearing in mature cortical neurons induces attempted regeneration and the reestablishment of neurite polarity


Blizzard, CA and King, AE and Haas, MA and O'Toole, DA and Vickers, JC and Dickson, TC, Axonal shearing in mature cortical neurons induces attempted regeneration and the reestablishment of neurite polarity, Brain Research: International Multidisciplinary Journal Devoted to Fundamental Research in The Brain Sciences, 1300, (November) pp. 24-36. ISSN 0006-8993 (2009) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

DOI: doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2009.08.059


While functional recovery after injury is limited, it has become evident that the mature central nervous system does retain some ability to regenerate. This study investigated the intrinsic capacity of relatively mature cortical neurons (21 days in vitro) to respond to axonal loss. Neurons, growing as clusters on poly-l-lysine, were completely sheared of axons through chemical and mechanical disruption and transferred to either an intact astrocyte monolayer or a substrate of poly-l-lysine. Injured neurons exhibited a regenerative sprouting response that was independent of neuronal cell division or neural progenitors, as demonstrated by negative bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) and the neuronal precursor intermediate filament nestin, labeling. At 24 h after injury, neurons had extended appropriately polarized neurites, demonstrated by compartmentalized microtubule-associated proteins MAP2 and tau immunolabeling. Newly sprouting axons were tipped by growth cones; however, growth cones on the tips of sprouting axons (mean area, 26.32 2.20 μm) were significantly (p < 0.05) smaller than their developmental counterparts (mean area, 48.64 5.9 μm), independent of substrate. Furthermore, live imaging indicated that regenerating neurons exhibited distinct axonal dynamics, with a significant (p < 0.05) reduction (70%) in pausing, considered vital for interstitial branching and pathfinding, relative to developmental growth cones. This study indicates that mature cultured cortical pyramidal and interneurons have the intrinsic potential to survive, extend processes, and reestablish neurite polarity following significant physical damage. These results may aid in defining the cellular basis of neuronal structural plasticity and defining the role of astrocyte reactivity in the response to trauma.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Axonal injury; Regeneration; Plasticity, Growth cone
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Blizzard, CA (Dr Catherine Blizzard)
UTAS Author:King, AE (Professor Anna King)
UTAS Author:Haas, MA (Dr Matilda Haas)
UTAS Author:O'Toole, DA (Mr David O'Toole)
UTAS Author:Vickers, JC (Professor James Vickers)
UTAS Author:Dickson, TC (Professor Tracey Dickson)
ID Code:60699
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:3
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2010-02-16
Last Modified:2012-03-06

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