2′,3′-Cyclic nucleotide 3′-phosphodiesterase (CNPase) is an enzyme associated with central nervous system myelination. Although present in the mammalian peripheral nerve, it is not clear what its role is during myelination nor how the expression of this gene is regulated in the PNS. In this study, CNPase gene expression was studied in the crushed and permanently transected rat sciatic nerve, two models of peripheral nerve neuropathy. The Schwann cells of the crushed nerve initially demyelinate, remain in a non-myelinating condition until active regeneration induces remyelination (10-21 days after injury), whereas those of the permanently transected nerve remain in a quiescent, non-myelinating state after the initial demyelination. An increase of CNPase mRNA levels is observed during degeneration and remains high whether the peripheral nerve is regenerating or not, suggesting transcriptional activation of CNPase mRNA and/or increased CNPase mRNA stability as a response to nerve injury. In contrast, the steady state level of CNPase protein did not increase during degeneration or regeneration suggesting either negative translational regulation of CNPase gene expression or a higher turnover of this protein in the injured peripheral nerve. Furthermore, CNPase activity dropped sharply during early degeneration and remained low in the quiescent cells of the permanently transected nerve while it increased in the regenerating nerve. The results suggest that although transcriptional or post-transcriptional regulation of CNPase gene expression is not dependant on Schwann cell-axonal contact, the activity of CNPase appears to be dependent on myelination and indirectly dependent on the presence of axons in the peripheral nerve. © 1992.
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