Myelin Proteins, Glycoproteins, and Myelin‐Related Enzymes in Experimental Demyelination of the Rabbit Optic Nerve: Sequence of Events

Jacqueline Reigner, Jean‐Marie ‐M Matthieu, Rolf Kraus‐Ruppert, Hans Lassmann, Joseph F. Poduslo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract: Wallerian degeneration of the rabbit optic nerve was investigated by the technique of retinal ablation which precludes edema, hemorrhage, or macrophage infiltration. After 8 days of degeneration, marked degradation of axons and some myelin abnormalities appeared in the optic nerve, optic chiasma, and optic tract. Myelin lesions were maximal 32 days after retinal destruction. The amount of material stained with a myelin dye decreased drastically between 32 and 90 days after the operation. Biochemical parameters gave the following sequence of events. The concentration of the major periodic acid‐Schiff staining glycoproteins was decreased after 2 days, and 6 days later the presence of cholesterol esters was detected in the optic tissue. After 16 days of Wallerian degeneration, the specific activity of 2′,3′‐cyclic nucleotide 3′‐phospho‐diesterase not associated with myelin decreased, indicating a possible dedifferentiation of oligodendrocytes. Degradation of myelin basic protein became significant at 32 days and the amount of myelin isolated decreased later. The loss of myelin basic protein coincided with a reduction of myelin periodicity as measured in purified fractions by electron microscopy. These results show that secondary myelin destruction in the absence of edema, hemorrhage, or macrophages is a very slow process, and in this situation myelin undergoes a selective and sequential loss of its constituents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1986-1995
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1981



  • 2′,3′‐Cyclic nucleotide 3′‐phosphodiesterase
  • Cerebroside sulfotransferase
  • Demyelination
  • Myelin glycoproteins
  • myelin proteins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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