Immunohistochemistry for activated caspase-3 and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferease-mediated dUTP-biotin nick end labeling (TUNEL) was performed on the trigeminal ganglion after infraorbital nerve transection in newborn rats. The injury induced caspase-3-immunoreactivity and DNA fragmentation in neuronal cell bodies in the maxillary division of the ganglion ipsilateral to the injury. Starting at 16 h post-injury the immunoreactive and TUNEL-positive neurons increased and reached the peak at 24 h (7.9% and 8.9%, respectively). Thereafter they decreased and returned to the normal control level (1%) by 72 h. A double staining procedure revealed coexpression of caspase-3-immunoreactivity and DNA fragmentation. 75.5% (114/151) of TUNEL-positive neurons expressed the immunoreactivity, while 84.4% (114/135) of immunoreactive neurons exhibited DNA fragmentation signal. These results suggest that caspase-3 plays an important role in apoptotic elimination of neonatally axotomized rodent primary neurons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas