Expression of L1 and PSA during sprouting and regeneration in the adult hippocampal formation

Isabelle Aubert, Jean Luc Ridet, Melitta Schachner, Geneviève Rougon, Fred H. Gage

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69 Scopus citations


The objective of the present study was to evaluate the expression of polysialic acid (PSA) and the cell adhesion molecule L1 during axonal regeneration and sprouting after injury to the adult rat brain. All animals received a complete lesion of the fimbria-fornix (FF). Grafts of nerve growth factor (NGF)- or β-galactosidase (βGal)-producing fibroblasts were placed in the FF lesion cavity and induced septohippocampal cholinergic regeneration or sympathetic tyrosine hydroxylase (TH)-positive sprouting, respectively. Cholinergic regeneration was evaluated from 2 to 8 weeks following grafting of NGF-producing fibroblasts in the FF lesion cavity. In the graft area, choline acetyltransferase (ChAT)-positive fibers expressed L1 and PSA. Once cholinergic axons reached the hippocampal formation (HF), they no longer expressed L1 or PSA. Eight weeks after a lesion of the FF and transplantation of βGal-producing fibroblasts, TH-positive fibers sprouted in the denervated HF and expressed L1 but not PSA. At the zone of reactive gliosis, PSA but not L1 expression was increased following a lesion of the FF and transplantation of NGF- or βGal-producing fibroblasts. In animals that received a graft of NGF-producing fibroblasts in the FF lesion cavity, numerous ChAT-positive axons were observed along these areas rich in PSA and reactive astrocytes. Taken together, these results suggest that the expression of PSA and L1 is upregulated on regenerating cholinergic axons during axonal elongation and downregulated upon target innervation. In contrast, TH-positive fibers that sprout in the denervated HF express and maintain their expression of L1. Finally, the expression of PSA in the area of reactive gliosis may contribute to a permissive environment for axonal regrowth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 14 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)


  • Cell adhesion molecules
  • Cholinergic regeneration
  • Lesion of the fimbria-fornix
  • Nerve growth factor
  • Noradrenergic sprouting


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