ABSTRACT: Local axon degeneration is a common pathological feature of many neurodegenerative diseases, whereas the underlying molecular mechanisms are largely unknown. In this study, we used the degeneration of transected axons, termed "Wallerian degeneration," as a model to examine the possible involvement of Rho. Nogo-66, a myelin-derived inhibitor of axon regeneration, significantly accelerated axon degeneration of the dorsal root ganglion explant in vitro, whereas inhibiting Rho-kinase activity abolished the effect. Rho activation was observed in the distal part of the injured axons after spinal cord injury. We demonstrate that degeneration of the injured cortico-spinal axons was significantly retarded by a Rho-kinase inhibitor in vivo. Our findings suggest that inhibiting the signaling pathway may retard axon degeneration in pathological conditions.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2005; 280(21):20384-8. · 4.77 Impact Factor