An apparatus was devised which utilizes local cooling to reversibly interrupt the axonal transport of dopamine‐β‐hydroxylase (DBH) in rabbit sciatic nerves in vitro. Lowering the temperature of a short region of nerve to between 1 and 3°C, while keeping the remainder at 37°C, caused DBH activity to accumulate in and proximal to the cooled region. This accumulation was evident after 0.5 hr of cooling and increased in a nearly linear fashion with time for about 3 hr. The cooling‐induced interruption in transport was rapidly reversed when nerves were rewarmed to 37°C. Upon rewarming after local cooling for 1.5 hr, a peak of accumulated DBH activity migrated toward the distal end of the nerve at a velocity of 300 ± 17 mm/day. This velocity was maintained for as long as the peak could be followed and was four times greater than the average velocity estimated from the rate of accumulation of DBH activity above a ligature at the distal end of these same nerves. It is concluded that ligation experiments grossly underestimate the true velocity of axonal transport of DBH and that the present technique offers great advantages in permitting direct study of the migration of separate axonal compartments of transported materials.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience