Identification of a peripheral nerve neurite growth-promoting activity by development and use of an in vitro bioassay.
The effective regeneration of severed neuronal axons in the peripheral nerves of adult mammals may be explained by the presence of molecules in situ that promote the effective elongation of neurites. The absence of such molecules in the central nervous system of these animals may underlie the relative inability of axons to regenerate in this tissue after injury. In an effort to identify neurite growth-promoting molecules in tissues that support effective axonal regeneration, we have developed an in vitro bioassay that is sensitive to substrate-bound factors of peripheral nerve that influence the growth of neurites. In this assay, neonatal rat superior cervical ganglion explants are placed on longitudinal cryostat sections of fresh-frozen sciatic nerve, and the regrowing axons are visualized by catecholamine histofluorescence. Axons are found to regenerate effectively over sciatic nerve tissue sections. When ganglia are similarly explanted onto cryostat sections of adult rat central nervous system tissue, however, axonal regeneration is virtually absent. We have begun to identify the molecules in peripheral nerve that promote effective axonal regeneration by examining the effect of antibodies that interfere with the activity of previously described neurite growth-promoting factors. Axonal elongation over sciatic nerve tissue was found to be sensitive to the inhibitory effects of INO (for inhibitor of neurite outgrowth), a monoclonal antibody that recognizes and inhibits a neurite growth-promoting activity from PC-12 cell-conditioned medium. The INO antigen appears to be a molecular complex of laminin and heparan sulfate proteoglycan. In contrast, a rabbit antiserum that recognizes laminin purified from mouse Engelbreth-Holm-Swarm (EHS) sarcoma, stains the Schwann cell basal lamina of peripheral nerve, and inhibits neurite growth over purified laminin substrata has no detectable effect on the rate of axonal regeneration in our assay.
Sandrock, AW; Matthew, WD
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