Autotomy in rats after nerve section compared with nerve degeneration following intraneural injection ofRicinus communis agglutininI

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SummaryPartial unilateral deafferentation of the hind limb of rats was carried out by section of the sciatic nerve or the intraneural injection of Ricinus communis agglutininI (RCA I). The development of autotomy was observed over a 6 week period. The axotomized animals autotomized more than those injected with RCA I. A neuroma developed on the proximal stump of the axotomized nerves. Within 7 days the axons of the RCA I-injected nerve degenerated and the cell bodies in dorsal root ganglia L4 and L5 were destroyed. Since the RCA I-injected animals autotomized, it is concluded that purely central factors have a role in the generation of this abnormal behavior. As the axotomized animals autotomized more than the RCA I-treated ones it is further concluded that abnormal impulse activity arising from a neuroma may be an additional factor in causing autotomy.

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