The response of ventral horn neurons to axonal transection

Donald L. Price, Keith R. Porter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The morphological changes induced in the frog ventral horn neurons by axonal transection have been studied with the electron microscope. During the first 2 wk after axotomy the neuronal nucleus becomes more translucent and the nucleolus becomes enlarged and less compact. The cisternae of the granular endoplasmic reticulum vesiculate and ribosomes dissociate from membranes. Free ribosomes and polysomes are dispersed in the cytoplasmic matrix. Neurofilaments and neurotubules are increased in number. These structures appear to be important in the regeneration of the axon. It is proposed that neurotubules, neurofilaments, and axoplasmic matrix are synthesized by the free polyribosomes in the chromatolytic neuron. By the fourth postoperative week, the neurons show evidence of recovery. The cytoplasm is filled with profiles of granular endoplasmic reticulum and many intercisternal polysomes. The substances being manufactured by the newly formed granular endoplasmic reticulum are not clearly defined, but probably include elements essential to electrical and chemical conduction of impulses. The significance of these observations in respect to recent studies of axoplasmic flow is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-37
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 1 1972

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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