To assess the role of white matter inhibition as a barrier to neurite outgrowth in vivo, we unilaterally transected three consecutive lumbar dorsal roots (L4-L6), incised the spinal cord, and transplanted the peripheral stump of L4 either medially onto the white matter of the dorsal columns or laterally, just superficial to the gray matter of the dorsal horn at the level of L5. Three weeks to seven months later, the translocated root was retransected, and its central stump was anterogradely labeled with HRP. The staining pattern demonstrated that regenerating sensory axons had entered the spinal cord from both medially and laterally placed roots. Axonal staining from medially placed dorsal roots (onto the white matter of the dorsal columns) was sparse and limited to the white matter. Staining of laterally placed roots revealed a small subpopulation of regenerating axons which had entered the gray matter and formed terminal arbors. Successful axonal regeneration into the gray matter, albeit minimal, was associated with a localized and limited inflammatory response near the sites of axonal ingrowth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Neuroscience