Axonal atrophy from permanent peripheral axotomy in adult cat

Janna Carlson, Alfred C. Lais, Peter James Dyck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Scopus citations


The peripheral axons of lower motor and spinal ganglion neurons were permanently transected and not allowed to regrow to target tissue in adult cats by amputation of the hind limb at the hip. The number and sizes of L-7 lower motor neurons at two levels (cell bodies of lateral group motor neurons and myelinated fibers [MFs] of ventral root) and of L-7 spinal ganglion neurons at two levels (cell bodies of L-7 spinal ganglion and MFs of dorsal root) were morphometrically evaluated in groups of cats at 3 months, 9 months, and 18 months after amputation and compared with the number and sizes of neurons in controls or with those on the opposite side. The number of neurons decreased only minimally after amputation. The diameter of neuron cell bodies was only equivocally reduced. By contrast, the median diameter and the peak diameter of both large and small MFs of dorsal and ventral nerve roots were significantly (approximately 30%) less than those of controls. This reduction in diameter of MFs is judged to be related to chronic axonal atrophy rather than to selective loss of large fibers. Permanent transection of distal axons should therefore prove to be a good model of chronic axonal atrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)579-585
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Neuropathology and Experimental Neurology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1979

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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