, Volume 107, Issue 4, pp 331-335
Date: 24 Jan 2004

Age-related axonal and myelin changes in the rumpshaker mutation of the Plp gene

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The PLP1/Plp gene encodes proteolipid protein (PLP) and DM20, the major central nervous system myelin proteins. Mutations in the PLP1/Plp gene cause dysmyelinating disorders in man and animals. The rumpshaker mutation was first identified in mice and later linked to a family diagnosed with neurological deficits akin to spastic paraplegia. The dysmyelination in the young rumpshaker mouse is well characterised. Here we report evidence for an age-related increase in myelin due mainly to the myelination of small axons, many large axons remain dysmyelinated. Levels of PLP/DM20 and myelin basic protein are considerably greater in myelin fractions from older compared with younger mutants. Myelin in sheaths of larger axons remains poorly compacted and may account for levels of 2’,3’-cyclic nucleotide 3’-phosphodiesterase and myelin-associated glycoprotein being elevated over wild type in older mutant mice. A late-onset distal degeneration of the axons of the longest spinal tract, the fasciculus gracilis, is also noted. This is the first report of Wallerian-type degeneration in mice with spontaneous mutations of the Plp gene.

The first two authors contributed equally to the study