Glyoxylic acid was used to induce fluorescence in sections of rabbit sciatic nerve. In fresh nerves treated with this agent there were scattered finely beaded axons with a weak blue‐green fluorescence. During local cooling, blue—green fluorescence accumulated steadily at the proximal boundary of the cooled region but never at its distal boundary. This accumulation gave rise to dilated axons that often swelled into brilliantly fluorescent balloon‐like structures up to 10 μm in diameter. Axonal fluorescence was probably specific for norepinephrine, being enhanced by inhibition of the metabolism and diminished by inhibition of the synthesis or storage of this neurotransmitter. After local cooling of nerves for 1.5 hr, specific fluorescence was confined within 0.8 mm of the cooled region. Rewarming led to rapid removal of fluorescence from the cooled region and to disappearance of most of the balloon‐like swellings. Simultaneously, rewarming caused brightly fluorescent fibers that were neither dilated nor swollen to appear in distal regions of nerve. As this wave of fluorescence migrated distally with increasing duration of rewarming, it was spread over increasingly broad regions of nerve, which suggests that axonal transport of norepinephrine may involve some kind of dispersive process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience