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Excitotoxicity mediated by non-NMDA receptors causes distal axonopathy in long-term cultured spinal motor neurons


King, AE and Dickson, TC and Blizzard, CA and Foster, SS and Chung, RS and West, AK and Chuah, MI and Vickers, JC, Excitotoxicity mediated by non-NMDA receptors causes distal axonopathy in long-term cultured spinal motor neurons, European Journal of Neuroscience, 26, (8) pp. 2151-2159. ISSN 0953-816X (2007) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1460-9568.2007.05845.x


Excitotoxicity has been implicated as a potential cause of neuronal degeneration in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It has not been clear how excitotoxic injury leads to the hallmark pathological changes of ALS, such as the abnormal accumulation of filamentous proteins in axons. We have investigated the effects of overactivation of excitatory receptors in rodent neurons maintained in long-term culture. Excitotoxicity, mediated principally via non-N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, caused axonal swelling and accumulation of cytoskeletal proteins in the distal segments of the axons of cultured spinal, but not cortical, neurons. Axonopathy only occurred in spinal neurons maintained for 3 weeks in vitro, indicating that susceptibility to axonal pathology may be related to relative maturity of the neuron. Excitotoxic axonopathy was associated with the aberrant colocalization of phosphorylated and dephosphorylated neurofilament proteins, indicating that disruption to the regulation of phosphorylation of neurofilaments may lead to their abnormal accumulation. These data provide a strong link between excitotoxicity and the selective pattern of axonopathy of lower motor neurons that underlies neuronal dysfunction in ALS. © The Authors (2007).

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Cellular nervous system
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:King, AE (Professor Anna King)
UTAS Author:Dickson, TC (Professor Tracey Dickson)
UTAS Author:Blizzard, CA (Dr Catherine Blizzard)
UTAS Author:Foster, SS (Miss Sandessa Foster)
UTAS Author:Chung, RS (Associate Professor Roger Chung)
UTAS Author:West, AK (Professor Adrian West)
UTAS Author:Chuah, MI (Associate Professor Inn Chuah)
UTAS Author:Vickers, JC (Professor James Vickers)
ID Code:50516
Year Published:2007
Web of Science® Times Cited:24
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2007-08-01
Last Modified:2009-08-25

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