The importance of adequate stimulation for the maintenance and development of neural structures is exemplified by the phenomenon of transneuronal degeneration or atrophy. Transneuronal degeneration has been most convincingly demonstrated in the visual system.7 The partial deafferentation of a lateral geniculate body which follows enucleation of an eye leads to atrophy of those neurons deprived of sensory afferents. The number of geniculate nerve cells which die as a result of the surgical procedure depends upon the species concerned, the age of the animal operated on, and the length of postoperative survival.7-9,11,17
There is evidence that the phenomenon of Iransneuronal atrophy is a result of reduced protein turnover in cells deprived of stimulation.5,22 The functional connections of the lateral geniculate body, which is probably entirely dependent on the retinae for afferent supply, render it peculiarly susceptible to degeneration following surgical deafferentation. Nonetheless, transneuronal degeneration may be demonstrated in
BARRON KD, TUNCBAY TO. Phosphatase in Cuneate Nuclei After Brachial Plexectomy. Arch Neurol. 1962;7(3):203–210. doi:10.1001/archneur.1962.04210030041006
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