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Brain Damage, Brain Repair$
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James W. Fawcett, Anne E. Rosser, and Stephen B. Dunnett

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523376

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523376.001.0001

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Axotomy and mechanical damage

Axotomy and mechanical damage

Chapter:
(p.15) 2 Axotomy and mechanical damage
Source:
Brain Damage, Brain Repair
Author(s):

James W. Fawcett

Anne E. Rosser

Stephen B. Dunnett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523376.003.0002

Almost any form of damage to the nervous system will damage axons. Axons are in a uniquely vulnerable position compared with most other cell components in that they are long and, therefore, for the most part physically far removed from their cell body. Yet they are entirely dependent on the cell body for the provision of the proteins required for homeostasis and function. Cutting an axon disconnects that part of it distal to the lesion from its source of protein synthesis and eventual death is, therefore, inevitable. The myelin that surrounds a dying axon is also inevitably compromised. The degeneration of the distal portion of a cut axon, together with the degeneration of its myelin, was originally described by Waller in 1850, and is now termed Wallerian degeneration.

Keywords:   axotomy, mechanical damage, nervous system, homeostasis, protein synthesis, Wallerian degeneration

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