04-18-2004, 09:00 PM
• Gianola S and Rossi F (2004). GAP-43 overexpression in adult mouse Purkinje cells overrides myelin-derived inhibition of neurite growth. Eur J Neurosci. 19: 819-30. Rita Levi Montalcini Centre for Brain Repair, Department of Neuroscience, University of Turin, Corso Raffaello 30, I-10125 Turin, Italy. Up-regulation of growth-associated proteins in adult neurons promotes axon regeneration and neuritic elongation onto nonpermissive substrates. To investigate the interaction between these molecules and myelin-related inhibitory factors, we examined transgenic mice in which overexpression of the growth-associated protein GAP-43 is driven by the Purkinje cell-specific promoter L7. Contrary to their wild-type counterparts, which have extremely poor regenerative capabilities, axotomized transgenic Purkinje cells exhibit profuse sprouting along the intracortical neurite and at the severed stump [Buffo et al. (1997) J. Neurosci., 17, 8778-8791]. Here, we investigated the relationship between such sprouting axons and oligodendroglia to ask whether GAP-43 overexpression enables Purkinje neurites to overcome myelin-derived inhibition. Intact transgenic Purkinje axons display normal morphology and myelination. Following injury, however, many GAP-43-overexpressing neurite stumps are devoid of myelin cover and sprout into white matter regions containing densely packed myelin and Nogo-A- or MAG-immunopositive oligodendrocytes. The intracortical segments of these neurites show focal accumulations of GAP-43, which are associated with disrupted or retracted myelin sheaths. Numerous sprouts originate from such demyelinated segments and spread into the granular layer. Some myelin loss, though not axon sprouting, is also evident in wild-type mice, but this phenomenon is definitely more rapid and extensive in transgenic cerebella. Thus, GAP-43-overexpressing Purkinje axons are endowed with enhanced capabilities for growing into nonpermissive territories and show a pronounced tendency to lose myelin. Our observations suggest that accumulation of GAP-43 along precise axon segments disrupts the normal axon-glia interaction and enhances the retraction of oligodendrocytic processes to facilitate the outgrowth of neuritic sprouts.