Identification of the Avulsion-Injured Spinal MotoneuronsReportar como inadecuado

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Journal of Molecular Neuroscience

, Volume 57, Issue 1, pp 142–151

First Online: 30 May 2015Received: 04 February 2015Accepted: 21 May 2015


In laboratory studies, counting the spinal motoneurons that survived axonal injury is a major method to estimate the severity and regenerative capacity of the injured motoneurons after the axonal injury and rehabilitation surgery. However, the typical motoneuron marker, the choline acetyltransferase ChAT, could not be detected in the injured motoneurons within the first 3–4 weeks postinjury. It is necessary to explore the useful and reliable specific phenotypic markers to assess the fate of injured motoneurons in axonal injury. Here, we used the fluorogold to retrograde trace the injured motoneurons in the spinal cord and studied the expression patterns of the alpha-motoneuron marker, the neuronal nuclei DNA-binding protein NeuN and the peripheral nerve injury marker, the activating transcriptional factor ATF-3, and the oxidative stress marker, the neuronal nitric oxide synthase nNOS within the first 4 weeks of the root avulsion of the right brachial plexus BPRA in the adult male Sprague-Dawley rats. Our results showed that ATF-3 was rapidly induced and sustained to express only in the nuclei of the fluorogold-labeled injured motoneurons but none in the unaffected motoneurons from the 24 h of the injury; meanwhile, the NeuN almost disappeared in the avulsion-affected motoneurons within the first 4 weeks. The nNOS was not detected in the motoneurons until the second week of the injury. On the basis of the present data, we suggest that ATF-3 labels avulsion-injured motoneurons while NeuN and nNOS are poor markers within the first 4 weeks of BPRA.

KeywordsNeuN ATF-3 Spinal motoneurons Avulsion Brachial plexus AbbreviationsChATCholine acetyltransferase

NeuNNeuronal nuclei DNA-binding protein

ATF-3Activating transcriptional factor

nNOSNeuronal nitric oxide synthase



BSABovine serum albumin

TRITCTetramethylrhodamine isothiocyanate

ANOVAOne-way analysis of variance

NONitric oxide

Highlights1. NeuN decreased in injured motoneurons but did not affect in unaffected motoneurons.

2. ATF-3 was detected rapidly and only inside the nuclei of injured motoneurons.

3. nNOS was detected from 2 weeks of injury

4. ATF-positive but NeuN-negative motoneurons could be counted to estimate the severity of axonal injury.

An erratum to this article can be found at

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Autor: Min Tan - Ming-zhou Yuan - Tian-yu Sun - Ying-yu Xie - Lin-Lin Liu - Ying Tang - Ze-min Ling - Ying-qin Li - Guang-yin Yu


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