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Wallerian degeneration

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Degeneration of the distal segment of a peripheral nerve fibre (axon) that has been severed from its nutritive centres (cell body), without local inflammation.

Description

Degeneration of the distal segment of a peripheral nerve fibre (axon) that has been severed from its nutritive centres (cell body), without local inflammation. The myelin sheath also degenerates, from a distal injury to the same axon, and is transformed into a chain of stainable lipoid droplets (Marchi's stain). This discovery made it possible to trace the course of fibres through the nervous system and demonstrated the importance of the nucleus in the regeneration of nerve fibres. The neurilemma does not degenerate but form a tube that directs the growth of the regenerating axon.

Bibliography

  • A. V. Waller:
    Experiments on the section of the glossopharyngeal and hypoglossal nerves of the frog, and observations on the alterations produced thereby in the structure of their primitive fibres.
    London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 1850.
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, 1850, 140: 423-429.
    Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal, 1851, 76: 369. Recherches sur la système nerveux.
    Comptes rendus de l’Académie des sciences, Paris, 1851,33: 370-374 and 606-611. Observations sur les effets de la section des racines spinales et du nerf pneumogastrique au dessus de son ganglion inférieur chez les mammifères.
    Comptes rendus hebdomadaires des séances de l’Académie des Sciences, Paris, 1852, 34: 582-587. Sur la reproduction des nerfs et sur la structure et les fonctions des ganglions spinaux.
    Archiv für Anatomie, Physiologie und wissenschaftliche Medicin, Leipzig, 1852:392. Experience sur les sections des nerfs et les alterations.
    Comptes-rendus de la Société de biologie, Paris, 1857, 2 (3): 6.

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