Morphological evidence of the inhibitory effect of taxol on the fast axonal transport

Neurosci Res. 1999 Nov;35(2):113-22. doi: 10.1016/s0168-0102(99)00074-7.


The short term effects of taxol, a stabilizing drug of microtubules, on the peripheral nerves in the rat was investigated using a new chamber system which can be applied to incubate a sciatic nerve with various solutions in vivo. A functional analysis of retrograde axonal transport using rhodamine-labeled wheat germ agglutinin (WGA-rhodamine) showed the inhibitory effect of the drug. An electron microscopic study also revealed that a variety of vesicles were observed to accumulate on both the proximal and the distal sides of the chamber, however, no significant increase in the number of microtubules in the axons, based on the pharmacological effect of the drug, was observed even though one had been expected. These findings support the inhibitory effect of taxol on the fast axonal transport of the neurons. Furthermore, the accumulated vesicles were morphologically different from those accumulated by ligation. These results suggest that a special component of the fast axonal transport was thus selectively blocked by the drug.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport / drug effects*
  • Axons / drug effects
  • Axons / ultrastructure*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diffusion Chambers, Culture / instrumentation
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Lectins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / drug effects*
  • Microtubules / ultrastructure*
  • Organelles / drug effects
  • Organelles / ultrastructure
  • Paclitaxel / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rhodamines / metabolism
  • Rhodamines / pharmacokinetics
  • Sciatic Nerve / cytology
  • Sciatic Nerve / drug effects
  • Sciatic Nerve / ultrastructure
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins / metabolism
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins / pharmacokinetics


  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Lectins
  • Rhodamines
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins
  • Paclitaxel