Project: Research project

Project Details


A myotrophic protein from the chicken sciatic nerve has been found to be
similar if not identical to transferrin, the iron-binding and transport
protein in the blood. The role of transferrin (Tf) in promoting muscle
growth is becoming well documented, but other possible roles for
transferrin particularly in the nervous system are relatively unexplored.
Two recent reports indicate that Tf is utilized in the central nervous
system: (i) Tf receptors are present in the rat brain and (ii) neurons in
culture will take up iron, but the iron uptake is blocked in the presence
of Tf inhibitors. This proposal is designed to localize, describe and
examine the distribution of Tf-positive cells in the rat central and
peripheral nervous system using rat transferrin antisera and the peroxidase
anti-peroxidase method for immunohistochemistry. Our preliminary results
have found that the oligodendrocytes in the central nervous system and
Schwann cells of the peripheral nervous system label following
immunoreaction with Tf antiserum. Thus our data suggest that the
perineuronal satellite ologodendrocytes provide the neurons (and possible
other glia) with the transferrin needed to takeup iron for normal
function. No neuronal cells are Tf-positive in the adult, but anterior
motor horn cells in the 20 day old rat pup are Tf-positive.

Following the basic description studies, the response of Tf-positive cells
and the Tf-like protein will be examined in a series of experimental
studies: 1) callosal lesions in the cerebral cortex; 2) transection of the
spinal cord; 3) nerve crush injury to the sciatic and optic nerves. The
proposed studies will examine Tf production in a non-regenerating model
after axotomy (callosal, spinal and optic nerve) and Tf production in a
regenerating model (sciatic nerve). The Tf response of the perineuronal
oligodendrocytes and associated neurons of the cerebral cortical and spinal
gray matter will be examined to determine if there are alterations in their
morphology or Tf response following a lesion.

Because Tf-positive oligodendrocytes are present throughout the central
nervous system, a more general effect of Tf other than its described
myotrophic influence is evident. It is expected that the proposed
experiments will result in data which will be relevant to a number of
pathological conditions in which iron deficiency or accumulation or
demyelination accompanies the disease state.
Effective start/end date1/1/901/1/90


  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


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