Ultrastructural localization of immunoglobulin G and complement C9 in the brain stem and spinal cord following peripheral nerve injury: an immunoelectron microscopic study

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The ultrastructural localization of immunoreactivity for immunoglobulin G (IgG), F(ab′)2 and complement C9 was examined with preembedding immunoelectron microscopy in the hypoglossal nucleus and gracile nucleus as well as in the L4 spinal cord dorsal horn 1 week following hypoglossal or sciatic nerve transection, respectively. Only a few scattered immunoreactive profiles were observed on the unoperated side. On the operated side, IgG and F(ab′)2 immunoreactivity was present in the membranes of all reactive microglial cells observed. In addition, the cell membrane of some hypoglossal motoneurons showed IgG immunoreactivity. Complement C9 immunoreactivity was present in the cytoplasm of all reactive microglial cells examined. In addition, there was diffuse C9 immunoreactivity in motoneuron perikarya ipsilateral to nerve injury as well as in cell membranes in the neuropil, some of which could be identified as neuronal. Our interpretation of these findings is (1) that peripheral nerve injury results in binding of IgG to reactive microglia, as well as to some axotomized neurons, and (2) that C9 is synthesized by reactive microglia in response to axon injury and is also associated with axotomized motoneurons. These findings suggest that IgG and complement C9 are involved in microglia-neuron interactions after peripheral nerve injury.

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