Wallerian-like axonal degeneration in the optic nerve after perikaryal excitotoxic insult: an ultrastructural study.
Summary of "Wallerian-like axonal degeneration in the optic nerve after perikaryal excitotoxic insult: an ultrastructural study."
Excitotoxicity is involved in the pathogenesis of a number neurodegenerative diseases, and axonopathy is an early feature in several of these disorders. In models of excitotoxicity-associated neurological disease, an excitotoxin delivered to the central nervous system (CNS), could trigger neuronal death not only in the somatodendritic region, but also in the axonal region, via oligodendrocyte N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. The retina and optic nerve, as approachable regions of the brain, provide a unique anatomical substrate to investigate the "downstream" effect of isolated excitotoxic perikaryal injury on central nervous system (CNS) axons, potentially providing information about the pathogenesis of the axonopathy in clinical neurological disorders. Herein, we provide ultrastructural information about the retinal ganglion cell (RGC) somata and their axons, both unmyelinated and myelinated, after NMDA-induced retinal injury. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were killed at 0 h, 24 h, 72 h and 7 days after injecting 20 nM NMDA into the vitreous chamber of the left eye (n = 8 in each group). Saline-injected right eyes served as controls. After perfusion fixation, dissection, resin-embedding and staining, ultrathin sections of eyes and proximal (intraorbital) and distal (intracranial) optic nerve segments were evaluated by transmission electron tomography (TEM).
TEM demonstrated features of necrosis in RGCs: mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum swelling, disintegration of polyribosomes, rupture of membranous organelle and formation of myelin bodies. Ultrastructural damage in the optic nerve mimicked the changes of Wallerian degeneration; early nodal/paranodal disturbances were followed by the appearance of three major morphological variants: dark degeneration, watery degeneration and demyelination.
NMDA-induced excitotoxic retinal injury causes mainly necrotic RGC somal death with Wallerian-like degeneration of the optic nerve. Since axonal degeneration associated with perikaryal excitotoxic injury is an active, regulated process, it may be amenable to therapeutic intervention.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: BMC neuroscience
- PubMed Source: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20707883
- DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2202-11-97
Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions
Degeneration of distal aspects of a nerve axon following injury to the cell body or proximal portion of the axon. The process is characterized by fragmentation of the axon and its MYELIN SHEATH.
Atrophy of the optic disk which may be congenital or acquired. This condition indicates a deficiency in the number of nerve fibers which arise in the RETINA and converge to form the OPTIC DISK; OPTIC NERVE; OPTIC CHIASM; and optic tracts. GLAUCOMA; ISCHEMIA; inflammation, a chronic elevation of intracranial pressure, toxins, optic nerve compression, and inherited conditions (see OPTIC ATROPHIES, HEREDITARY) are relatively common causes of this condition.
Optic Nerve Diseases
Conditions which produce injury or dysfunction of the second cranial or optic nerve, which is generally considered a component of the central nervous system. Damage to optic nerve fibers may occur at or near their origin in the retina, at the optic disk, or in the nerve, optic chiasm, optic tract, or lateral geniculate nuclei. Clinical manifestations may include decreased visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, impaired color vision, and an afferent pupillary defect.
Optic Nerve Neoplasms
Benign and malignant neoplasms that arise from the optic nerve or its sheath. OPTIC NERVE GLIOMA is the most common histologic type. Optic nerve neoplasms tend to cause unilateral visual loss and an afferent pupillary defect and may spread via neural pathways to the brain.
The 2nd cranial nerve. The optic nerve conveys visual information from the retina to the brain. The nerve carries the axons of the retinal ganglion cells which sort at the optic chiasm and continue via the optic tracts to the brain. The largest projection is to the lateral geniculate nuclei; other important targets include the superior colliculi and the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Though known as the second cranial nerve, it is considered part of the central nervous system.
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