Schwann cell vulnerability to demyelination is associated with internodal length in tellurium neuropathy.
The frequency of demyelinated fibers in mixed nerve and cutaneous nerve and the relationship of the frequency of demyelination to internodal length were assessed in a model of tellurium neuropathy in the rat. Twenty-day-old Long-Evans rats were fed chow containing 1.25% elemental tellurium for seven days and subsequently killed at 34 or 41 days of age. Teased-fiber preparations revealed a higher frequency of demyelinated fibers in sciatic nerve (mixed nerve) than in sural nerve (cutaneous nerve). The frequency of demyelinated fibers was positively associated with internodal length in both nerves. The type of nerve (mixed or cutaneous) was not a significant predictor of the frequency of demyelinated fibers once internodal length had been taken into account. These data indicate that there is a hierarchy of vulnerability within the population of myelinating Schwann cells to tellurium toxicity, and that this hierarchy is related to internodal length. The hierarchy of vulnerability may reflect intrinsic differences among Schwann cells, such as the volume of myelin each cell is synthesizing and maintaining, or a gradient of unrecognized axonal abnormalities.
Bouldin, TW; Samsa, G; Earnhardt, TS; Krigman, MR
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