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The Fine Structure of Degenerating Nerve Fibers, Their Sheaths, and Their Terminations in the Central Nerve Cord of the Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)

Arthur Hess
The Journal of Biophysical and Biochemical Cytology
Vol. 7, No. 2 (Apr., 1960), pp. 339-344
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1603563
Page Count: 19
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The Fine Structure of Degenerating Nerve Fibers, Their Sheaths, and Their Terminations in the Central Nerve Cord of the Cockroach (Periplaneta americana)
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Abstract

The connectives above and below the second thoracic ganglion and nerves to and from the mesothoracic leg were severed in Periplaneta americana. Isolated ganglia and severed nerve cord were examined in the electron microscope. In the connectives, sheaths of degenerating fibers remain continuous but become thicker and more dense. There is increase in number and more haphazard disposition of the neuroglial processes which ensheath the axons. The cytoplasm contains vacuoles. Dense droplets normally intercalated between the layers of neuroglial processes ensheathing the axons are strikingly increased in number. The axoplasm with its organelles forms dense clumps. Mitochondria in axons are enlarged, the intramitochondrial matrix is more dense, and the internal folds are disorganized. In ganglia, mitochondrial changes in terminal parts of the axons appear similar to those described in the parent axons in the connective. The synaptic portions of nerve fibers appear very dense. Alterations of the sheath are minimal. Synaptic particles in the degenerating axoplasmic coagulum undergo only slight morphological changes and are still present up to 6 days after severance of their nerve fibers. It is difficult to assess whether there are any alterations in the total number of synaptic particles during degeneration.

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