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      Mechanisms of acute axonal degeneration in the optic nerve in vivo.

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          Abstract

          Axonal degeneration is an initial key step in traumatic and neurodegenerative CNS disorders. We established a unique in vivo epifluorescence imaging paradigm to characterize very early events in axonal degeneration in the rat optic nerve. Single retinal ganglion cell axons were visualized by AAV-mediated expression of dsRed and this allowed the quantification of postlesional acute axonal degeneration (AAD). EM analysis revealed severe structural alterations of the cytoskeleton, cytoplasmatic vacuolization, and the appearance of autophagosomes within the first hours after lesion. Inhibition of autophagy resulted in an attenuation of acute axonal degeneration. Furthermore, a rapid increase of intraaxonal calcium levels following crush lesion could be visualized using a calcium-sensitive dye. Application of calcium channel inhibitors prevented crush-induced calcium increase and markedly attenuated axonal degeneration, whereas application of a calcium ionophore aggravated the degenerative phenotype. We finally demonstrate that increased postlesional autophagy is calcium dependent and thus mechanistically link autophagy and intraaxonal calcium levels. Both processes are proposed to be major targets for the manipulation of axonal degeneration in future therapeutic settings.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
          Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
          Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
          1091-6490
          0027-8424
          Mar 30 2010
          : 107
          : 13
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Departments of Neurology and Neuropathology, University Medicine, Georg-August University, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.
          Article
          0909794107
          10.1073/pnas.0909794107
          2851885
          20231460
          a3637d24-e222-47f5-af88-9c174839a9e0
          History

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