beta, beta'-Iminodipropionitrile (IDPN), a synthetic compound that selectively impairs slow axonal transport, produced a rearrangement of the axonal cytoskeleton, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria. Immunoperoxidase staining using an antiserum to the 68,000-dalton neurofilament subunit demonstrated a displacement of neurofilaments toward the periphery of the axons of IDPN-treated rats. This change occurred simultaneously along the entire length of the sciatic nerve. Ultrastructural morphometry of the axonal organelles confirmed the peripheral relocation of neurofilaments and also showed a displacement of microtubules, smooth endoplasmic reticulum, and mitochondria to the center of the axons. The overall density of axonal mitochondria was increased, whereas those of other organelles were not significantly changed. Axons were reduced in size by 10--24%, the large axons being more affected than the small ones. The observed rearrangement of axonal organelles may be due to an effect of IDPN on microtubule-neurofilament interactions, which could in turn explain the impairment of the slow transport. Axons in IDPN intoxication are a useful model to study the organization of the axoplasm and the mechanism of axonal transport.

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