A conditioning lesion enhances sympathetic neurite outgrowth

Exp Neurol. 2005 Aug;194(2):432-43. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2005.02.023.


Axonal regeneration can be influenced by a conditioning lesion (an axonal injury made prior to a second test lesion). Previously, sympathetic neurons in vivo were shown to respond to a conditioning lesion with decreased neurite outgrowth, in contrast to the enhanced outgrowth observed in all other peripheral neurons examined. The present experiments tested the effects of a conditioning lesion on neurite outgrowth in vitro from the superior cervical ganglion (SCG) and the impact of several factors on that response. Ganglia axotomized 1 week earlier and then explanted in Matrigel or collagen gel responded with a significant increase in neurite extension compared to sham-operated ganglia. A distal axotomy produced by unilateral removal of the salivary glands (sialectomy) caused an increase in neurite outgrowth similar to that of a proximal axotomy. These conditioning lesions induced both an increase in the rate of elongation, and, in the case of the proximally axotomized SCG, a shorter initial delay of outgrowth. The enhanced outgrowth following sialectomy was specific to the nerve containing the majority of axons projecting to the salivary glands, suggesting that the conditioning lesion effect is restricted to previously injured neurons. Deletion of the gene for leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF), a gene induced by axotomy, did not abolish the conditioning lesion effect in SCG explants or dissociated cell cultures. In conclusion, sympathetic neurons are capable of responding to a conditioning lesion with increased neurite outgrowth. The hypothesis that the neuronal cell body response to axotomy plays an important role in the conditioning lesion response is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axotomy / methods
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen
  • Drug Combinations
  • Growth Cones / physiology
  • Growth Cones / ultrastructure
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Laminin
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neurites / physiology*
  • Neurites / ultrastructure
  • Proteoglycans
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Salivary Glands / innervation
  • Superior Cervical Ganglion / cytology
  • Superior Cervical Ganglion / physiology*


  • Drug Combinations
  • Interleukin-6
  • Laminin
  • Leukemia Inhibitory Factor
  • Lif protein, mouse
  • Proteoglycans
  • matrigel
  • Collagen