The Sequential Alterations of Endoneurial Cholesterol and Fatty Acid in Wallerian Degeneration and Regeneration

Jeffrey K. Yao, V. Natarajan, Peter James Dyck

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52 Scopus citations


The endoneurial nonpolar lipids were serially examined throughout Wallerian degeneration and regeneration. Following nerve crush in the rat, the endoneurial content of cholesterol falls and cholesteryl ester content rises dramatically. The maximal alteration of this ratio corresponds reasonably well with events of myelin ovoid dissolution to sudanophilic amorphous lipids. Thereafter, as regenerative events overshadow degenerative events the ratio is slowly restored toward normal. The increased cholesteryl esters are probably synthesized within endoneurium from free fatty acids which become available when myelin is degraded. The endoneurial free fatty acid content presumably represents the net effect of phospholipid degradation, cholesterol esterification, cholesteryl ester hydrolysis, and fascicular entry and exit. Free fatty acids become significantly elevated by 12 days, probably reach a peak between 16 and 60 days, and thereafter return to normal with fiber regeneration. The fatty acid composition of cholesteryl esters from crushed nerves is markedly different from those of normal sciatic nerves. The altered fatty acid composition of cholesteryl esters from myelin suggests that both synthesis and hydrolysis exhibit substrate specificity toward chain length and unsaturation, with oleate being the most favored substrate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)933-940
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1980


  • Rat sciatic nerve—Endoneurium—Cholesterol—Fatty acids—Wallerian degeneration and regeneration. Yao J. K. et al. The sequential alterations of endoneurial cholesterol and fatty acid in Wallerian degeneration and regeneration. J. Neurochem.35, 933–940 (1980)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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