1 Motor Control Lab, Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 unknown4 Motor Control Lab, Department of Neuroscience and Pharmacology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet5 Department of Clinical Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
The relationship between dysmyelination and the progression of neuropathy in Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) hereditary polyneuropathy is unclear. Mice heterozygously deficient for the myelin protein P₀ gene (P₀+/-) are indistinguishable from wild-type (WT) at birth and then develop a slowly progressing demyelinating neuropathy reminiscent of CMT Type 1b. Accumulating evidence suggests that impulse conduction can become lethal to acutely demyelinated central and peripheral axons. Here we investigated the vulnerability of motor axons to long-lasting, high-frequency repetitive stimulation (RS) in P₀+/- mice as compared to WT littermates at 7, 12, and 20 months of age. RS was carried out in interrupted trains of 200 Hz trains for 3h. Tibial nerves were stimulated at the ankle while the evoked compound muscle action potentials (CMAPs) and the ascending compound nerve action potentials (CNAPs) were recorded from plantar muscles and the sciatic nerve, respectively. In 7-month old mice, there was recovery of CMAP and CNAP following RS. When mice were about one year old, electrophysiological recovery following RS was incomplete and in P₀+/- also associated with morphological signs of partial Wallerian degeneration. The effect of RS was larger in P₀+/- as compared to age-matched WT. When mice were about 2 years old, the effect was stronger and became similar between WT and P₀+/-. RS was followed by a transient hyperpolarization, which decreased with age and was smaller in P0+/- than in WT. Our data suggest that both aging and the dysmyelinating disease process may contribute to the susceptibility to activity-induced axonal degeneration. It is possible that in aging mice and in P₀+/- there is inadequate energy-dependent Na(+)/K(+) pumping, as indicated by the reduced post-stimulation hyperpolarization, which may lead to a lethal Na(+) overload in some axons.