Acrolein Inflicts Axonal Membrane Disruption and Conduction Loss in Isolated Guinea-Pig Spinal Cord

Neuroscience. 2002;115(2):337-40. doi: 10.1016/s0306-4522(02)00457-8.


We have examined the effect of acrolein, an aldehyde product of lipid peroxidation, on axons in isolated guinea-pig spinal cord white matter. We found that 200 microM acrolein, but not 50 microM, induced a time-dependent loss of compound action potential conduction. Such conduction loss was irreversible within 1 h after acrolein perfusion. Parallel anatomical assessment indicates membrane integrity breakdown based on a horseradish peroxidase-exclusion assay. This is the first report to suggest that acrolein inflicts severe axonal damage. Since axonal damage within white matter plays a key role in the pathology of traumatic spinal cord injury, we suggest that acrolein may be a critical factor in mediating secondary functional loss.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / pathology*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / pathology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Guinea Pigs
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipid Peroxidation
  • Neural Conduction / drug effects*
  • Spinal Cord / cytology*
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism


  • Acrolein