Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary A variety of visceral nerves were studied by intermediate filament immunocytochemistry in rats intoxicated with acrylamide. In such animals, oesophageal and diaphragmatic motor end-plates were invaded and deformed by neurofilament protein-like material, while afferent fibres of diaphragmatic neuromuscular spindles and myelinated sensory fibres of the iris showed striking terminal accumulation of similar material. Conversely, the rich population of thin afferent fibres of the iris showed no obvious abnormality, while pre-terminal changes were seen along the extrinsic nerve fibres supplying the cornea and myenteric ganglia. Multiple lesions were demonstrated in gut nerves of acrylamide-treated rats, while scattered “enteric glial cells” showed abnormally coarse morphology and a striking increase in glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity. A distinct, delicately varicose appearence was revealed by neurofilament protein-immunostaining in bladder nerve fibres of normal rats, which was changed to one of coarse dilations by acrylamide. In conclusion, apparently selective changes were found along different types of axons, in dicating marked heterogeneity in cytoskeletal organisation among visceral nerves. Taken together with the proposed inhibition by acrylamide of neurofilament proteins degradation, the above findings may suggest a non-uniform distribution of neurofilament degradation sites along distal regions of different axons.
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