Slow transport of the cytoskeleton after axonal injury

J Neurobiol. 1992 Jul;23(5):568-78. doi: 10.1002/neu.480230510.


The delivery of cytoskeletal proteins to the axon occurs by slow axonal transport. We examined how the rate of slow transport was altered after axonal injury. When retinal ganglion cell (RGC) axons regenerated through peripheral nerve grafts, an increase in the rate of slow transport occurred during regrowth of the injured axons. We compared these results to axonal injury in the optic nerve where no substantial regrowth occurs and found a completely different response. Slow transport was decreased approximately tenfold in rate in the proximal segment of crushed optic nerves. This decreased rate of slow transport was not induced immediately, but occurred about 1 week after injury. To explore whether a decrease in the rate of slow transport was induced when the regeneration of peripheral nerves was physically blocked, we examined slow transport in motor neurons after the sciatic nerve was transected and ligated. In this case, no change in the rate of the comigrating tubulin and neurofilament (NF) radioactive peaks were observed. We discuss how the changes in the rate of slow transport may reflect different neuronal responses to injury and speculate about the possible molecular changes in the expression of tubulin which may contribute to the observed changes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport*
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Nerve Crush
  • Nerve Regeneration*
  • Nerve Transfer
  • Optic Nerve / physiology*
  • Optic Nerve Injuries
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Retinal Ganglion Cells / physiology*
  • Sciatic Nerve / injuries
  • Sciatic Nerve / physiology
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • Tubulin