Kinetic and Metabolic Disorders of Axoplasmic Transport Induced by Neurotoxic Agents

Part of the Springer Study Edition book series (volume 102)


Proteins and other materials synthesized in the cell bodies are transported into the axons and dendrites to support their functions: conduction of nerve impulses, release of neurotransmitters from terminals, and transduction in terminals. The structures of the axon continually turn over and are themselves maintained by transport: the cytoskeleton microtubules and neurofilaments, the membrane and its ion channels and pumps, endoplasmic reticulum, and other membrane-bound organelles (MBO) including transmitter vesicles, etc. It is apparent that toxicants affecting axonal transport can have profound effects on the function and structure of the neuron. A synopsis of transport properties and mechanisms is given in Sect. B to set the stage for the discussion of toxicants known to involve transport in Sect. C. The discussion is restricted for the most part to studies carried out in peripheral nerves taking a wider view of neurotoxicity, including the actions of toxicants on nerves in vitro as well as those following systemic administration. Transport is commonly held to consist of separate fast and slow mechanisms. Slow transport is associated with the maintenance of the cytoskeletal organelles. Their dramatic alteration by some key toxicants is usually accounted for by a selective action on the slow transport mechanism. In this presentation the alternate concept of a unitary mechanism for both slow and fast transport is advanced and neurotoxic actions discussed on that basis.


Axonal Transport Retrograde Transport Anterograde Transport Retrograde Axonal Transport Squid Giant Axon 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1994

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  • S. Ochs

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