Following injury, distal axons undergo the process of Wallerian degeneration, and then cell debris is cleared to create a permissive environment for axon regeneration. The innate and adaptive immune systems are believed to be critical for facilitating the clearance of myelin and axonal debris during this process. However, immunodeficient animal models are regularly used in transplantation studies investigating cell therapies to modulate the degenerative/regenerative response. Given the importance of the immune system in preparing a permissive environment for regeneration by clearing debris, animals lacking, in part or in full, a functional immune system may have an impaired ability to regenerate due to poor myelin clearance, and may, thus, be poor hosts to study modulators of regeneration and degeneration. To study this hypothesis, three different mouse models with impaired adaptive immunity were compared to wild type animals in their ability to degenerate axons and clear myelin debris one week following sciatic nerve transection. Immunofluorescent staining for axons and quantitation of axon density with nerve histomorphometry of the distal stump showed no consistent discrepancy between immunodeficient and wild type animals, suggesting axons tended to degenerate equally between the two groups. Debris clearance was assessed by macrophage density and relative myelin basic protein expression within the denervated nerve stump, and no consistent impairment of debris clearance was found. These data suggested deficiency of the adaptive immune system does not have a substantial effect on axon degeneration one week following axonal injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)