Quantification of N-CAM and N-cadherin expression in axotomized and crushed rat sciatic nerve

M. R. Thornton, C. Mantovani, M. A. Birchall, Giorgio Terenghi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Adhesion molecules are important in supporting axonal regeneration. Qualitative studies have described increased expression of neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) and N-cadherin in models of nerve injury allowing active regeneration. In this study we have used quantitative immunohistochemistry to compare expression of NCAM and N-cadherin after nerve injury either with active regeneration (crush) into the distal stump or without (axotomy and capping). Quantification was performed 15 days after axotomy in proximal and distal stumps. Quantification after crush either proximal, distal or within the crushed area was performed at 2, 7, 15 and 30 days after injury. Axotomy induced increases in expression in proximal stumps between two and three times those in uninjured nerves for both molecules. In distal stumps, N-cadherin levels increased seven-fold, yet NCAM levels did not exceed control values. After crush, NCAM immunoreactivity increased in the crushed area and distal stump in contrast to axotomy and NCAM-positive axons co-localized with PGP9.5. N-cadherin levels in the distal stump increased above control levels, but the magnitude of the increase seen after crush was different to those seen after axotomy. In conclusion, increased expression of adhesion molecules, particularly NCAM, in the distal stump of injured nerves is dependent upon the presence of regenerating axons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-78
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Injury
  • N-cadherin
  • NCAM
  • Regeneration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anatomy


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