Rapid axonal transport in rabbit vagus nerve was studied during and after graded nerve compression. Proteins of the rapid axonal transport were labelled by micro-injection of 3H-leucine into the nodose ganglion and the cervical vagus nerve was subjected to graded compression by a small "mini-cuff" applied directly to the exposed nerve trunk. The results showed that even slight trauma to the nerve, in this model represented by a pressure at 50 mmHg applied for two hours, may induce accumulation of axonally transported proteins at the level of compression. This transport block was, however, reversible within one day. 200 mmHg and 400 mmHg applied for two hours similarly induced a block of axonal transport persisting up to at least one and three days respectively after the compression. Time for recovery of normal transport was correlated with the magnitude of the pressure applied to the nerve. The results indicate that axons may survive, that is not undergo Wallerian degeneration, after blockage of rapid axonal transport persisting at least one day after the compression trauma.
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