We have previously demonstrated that subacute and subchronic acrylamide (ACR) intoxication are associated with a loss of subcellular elemental regulation in myelinated axons and Schwann cells of rat tibial nerve (LoPachin et al., Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol.115, 21-34, 1992; LoPachin et al., Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol.115, 35-43, 1992). In the present study, rats were allowed to recover partially from subchronic oral ACR intoxication (2.8 mM in drinking water for approximately 30 days). Elemental composition and water content of tibial nerve myelinated axons and Schwann cells were measured by electron probe X-ray microanalysis. Results show that K and Cl concentrations in larger tibial nerve axons were shifted toward normal values or above. For the most part, small axons also exhibited elemental changes that reflected recovery from ACR intoxication. Mitochondria displayed elemental changes that were similar to corresponding axoplasm. Schwann cells in tibial nerve of recovering animals had altered Na, P, Cl, K, and Mg concentrations that were similar in magnitude and extent to those occurring during ACR intoxication. In contrast, myelin displayed few changes. These results suggest that the recovery process following ACR intoxication is associated with characteristic changes in subaxonal elemental composition that might be related to repair mechanisms. That recovery-related elemental changes differ from those associated with intoxication provides additional support for the hypothesis (LoPachin et al., Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol.115, 21-34, 1992) that perturbation of elemental regulation is a specific component of ACR neurotoxicity. The observation of persistent Schwann cell disruption during recovery might reflect either long-term secondary consequences or delayed recovery from direct injury. Further studies are necessary to resolve this issue.
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