Use of Aplysia neurons for the study of cellular alterations and the resealing of transected axons in vitro

J Neurosci Methods. 1996 Oct 21;69(1):91-102. doi: 10.1016/S0165-0270(96)00024-6.

Abstract

The present report describes the experimental advantages offered by the combined use of Aplysia neurons and contemporary techniques to analyze the cellular events associated with nerve injury in the form of axotomy. The experiments were performed by transecting, under visual control, the main axon of identified Aplysia neurons in primary culture while monitoring several related parameters. We found that in cultured Aplysia neurons axotomy leads to the elevation of the [Ca2+]i in both the proximal and distal axonal segments from a resting level of 100 nM up to the millimolar range for a duration of 3-5 min. This increase in [Ca2+]i led to identical alterations in the cytoarchitecture of the proximal and distal segments. The formation of a membrane seal over the transected ends by their constriction and the subsequent fusion of the membrane is a [Ca2+]i-dependent process and is triggered by the elevation of [Ca2+]i to the microM level. Seal formation was followed by down-regulation of the [Ca2+]i to control levels. Following the formation of the membrane seal an increase in membrane retrieval was observed. We hypothesize that the retrieved membrane serves as an immediately available membrane reservoir for growth cone extension.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aplysia
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured / physiology
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*