Axonal transport of enzymes and labeled proteins in experimental axonopathy induced by p-bromophenylacetylurea

J. Jakobsen, S. Brimijoin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Axonal transport was studied by several techniques in the sciatic nerves of adult male Sprague-Dawley rats with neuropathy induced by treatment with p-bromophenylacetylurea (BPAU) in dimethylsulfoxide solution. Control rats were treated with solvent alone. BPAU, 200 mg/kg, induced severe muscle weakness in the hindlimbs, beginning after a latent period of 1 week and progressing to near total paralysis by 2 weeks. Axonal transport of the endogenous transmitter enzymes, acetylcholinesterase, dopamine-β-hydroxylase and choline acetyltransferase, was normal at both 2 and 15 days after administration of BPAU, as judged by the accumulation of enzyme activity above and below a set of double ligatures on the sciatic nerve. The velocity of fast anterograde transport of [35S]methionine labeled protein was also unaffected by BPAU. However, 4 abnormalities of transport were detected in BPAU-treated rats: (1) doubling of the time for initiation of fast anterograde transport after precursor injection in the dorsal root ganglion, (2) 25% fall in the velocity of slow axonal transport of [3H]leucine labeled protein, (3) 30% reduction in the proximal accumulation of fast transported labeled protein in ligated nerve, 8-30 h after injection of precursor, and (4) 50-60% reduction in distal accumulation of 'early arriving' labeled protein, 8-14 h after precursor injection. The last abnormality, suggesting an impaired turnaround from anterograde to retrograde transport, was detected as soon as 2 days after BPAU administration. The turnaround abnormality was correlated with the severity of neuropathy as estimated by independent clinical scoring in the group of rats treated with 200 mg/kg of drug. However, further studies showed that turnaround was delayed even in rats treated with doses as low as 50 mg/kg, which never led to clinically evident neuropathy. Nevertheless it is proposed that the abnormalities of transport play a role, as yet undefined, in the distal axonopathy caused by BPAU.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-122
Number of pages20
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 14 1981


  • axonal transport
  • axonopathy
  • neuropathy
  • p-bromophenylacetylurea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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