Clinical and experimental studies of distal axonopathy. A frequent form of brain and nerve damage produced by environmental chemical hazards

H. H. Schaumburg, P. S. Spencer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

51 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 1972 the authors began experimental animal studies of 'dying back' peripheral nerve degeneration produced by acrylamide. At that time, the dying-back hypothesis was a generally accepted concept in neuropathology: in brief, the idea suggested that a toxic derangement of neuronal metabolism would cause the nerve cell body to withdraw metabolic support from its axonal process so that degeneration would commence in the nerve terminal and, as neuronal metabolism became progressively impaired axonal degeneration would move in a seriate, retrograde (dying-back) fashion towards the cell body. If the intoxication was stopped it was assumed that axonal regeneration would commence and the animal (or human) would eventually recover. Neurons with the longest and largest diameter axons were thought to be most vulnerable to dying-back degeneration since they supported the greatest metabolic load. The scope of this investigation broadened considerably in succeeding years leading to: a reappraisal of the dying-back hypothesis, a recognition of irreversible subclinical and clinical effects of distal axonopathies on the human central nervous system, a morphological rationale for the wide variety of previously enigmatic clinical phenomena in the human toxic neuropathies and, evidence of the usefulness of neuropathology in the screening of chemicals for neurotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-29
Number of pages16
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
VolumeVOL. 329
StatePublished - 1979

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Chemical hazards
Poisons
Metabolism
Neurons
Brain
Animals
Acrylamide
Neurology
Nerve Degeneration
Screening
Cells
Peripheral Nerves
Axons
Regeneration
Central Nervous System
Clinical Studies
Dying
Nerve
Experimental Study
Distal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Cite this

Clinical and experimental studies of distal axonopathy. A frequent form of brain and nerve damage produced by environmental chemical hazards. / Schaumburg, H. H.; Spencer, P. S.

In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. VOL. 329, 1979, p. 14-29.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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