Vestibular nerve regeneration in the bullfrog, Rana catesbeiana: peripheral dendrites.

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Three experiments were conducted on healthy adult bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) for the purpose of investigating three characteristics of centrifugal vestibular afferent regeneration after complete transection of the anterior division of the vestibular nerve (AVN). In experiment 1 total fiber count and axon diameter measurements were obtained from the anterior canal nerve at three different time periods and compared with normal. The normal group (n = 3) demonstrated a total fiber count of 1001 +/- 76 (SEM). The early time period (1 to 2 weeks, n = 3) did not completely regenerate as demonstrated by a total fiber count of 282 +/- 23. The intermediate (4 to 6 weeks, n = 3) and late (8 to 16 weeks, n = 3) groups exhibited total fiber counts of 907 +/- 29 and 946 +/- 50, respectively, which were not different from normal (Mann-Whitney U, p > 0.2). Evaluation of fiber diameter distribution of the intermediate and late regenerated nerves revealed a reduction in axon diameter caliber compared with normal (analysis of variance, p < 0.0001). Thus transection of the AVN results in regeneration of all afferents that exhibit a reduction in axon diameter. In experiment 2 fibers innervating the anterior canal crista (ACC) were prelabeled before nerve transection. After the labeling procedure the AVN (n = 3) was sectioned at a location that resulted in denervation of three vestibular receptors: the ACC, horizontal canal cristae (HCC), and utricular macula. After 4 weeks of regeneration the ACC fibers that were prelabeled were observed innervating all three denervated vestibular receptors. This result demonstrated that reinnervation of the peripheral vestibular end organs after AVN transection is a nonspecific process. In experiment 3, 167 regenerated canal afferents were evaluated for functional recovery 16 weeks after transection. Both spontaneous and rotation-induced discharge characteristics were obtained and compared with those obtained from a sample of 254 normal afferents in a previous study (Hoffman LF. Factors affecting the response dynamics of canalicular primary afferent neurons in the bullfrog. St. Petersburg (FL): Association for Research in Otolaryngology; 1989). The mean spontaneous discharge coefficient of variation (CV) +/- standard deviation was 0.60 +/- 0.32 and 0.49 +/- 0.33 for ACC and HCC regenerated afferents, respectively, which did not differ from the normal means of 0.63 +/- 0.33 and 0.54 +/- 0.36 (Mann-Whitney, p > 0.2). Response gains and phases obtained during 0.05 Hz sinusoid rotations at 15 degrees/second maximum horizontal table velocity also demonstrated normal discharge characteristics. The mean phases were -28.2 +/- 25.2 degrees and -55.9 +/- 21.5 degrees for regenerated ACC and HCC afferents, respectively, which were not different from the normal means of -33.77 +/- 24.31 degrees and -58.0 +/- 23.3 degrees (Mann-Whitney U). Furthermore, regenerated afferents exhibited a positive association between phase and CV, which was also true for normal afferents (correlation analysis, p > 0.001). Although the mean gains for regenerated ACC and HCC (7.13 +/- 5.5 and 3.3 +/- 2.4 spikes x sec(-1)/degrees x sec(-2), respectively) afferents were reduced from normal ACC and HCC (14.8 +/- 12.52 and 7.76 +/- 6.58 spikes x sec(-1)/degrees x sec(-2), respectively) afferents (Mann-Whitney U, p > 0.0001), a positive association between gain and CV was also demonstrated by regenerated afferents, as was the case for normal afferents (correlation analysis, p < 0.001). Thus the overall response discharges of regenerated afferents were comparable with normal afferents. Normally, large fibers innervate central regions of the receptor, and smaller fibers innervate the peripheral regions. However, the data from experiments 1 and 2 demonstrate that vestibular nerve regeneration results in a dissociation between the normal topographic organization of fiber size and regional innervation of the receptor epithelium. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)





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Medicine and Health Sciences




Department of Surgery

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