Rapid onset form of Wallerian degeneration in the adult neocortex

In a 2-photon imaging tour de force from postdocs Alison Canty and Lieven Huang, the real-time cellular dynamics of axon degeneration in the mammalian brain was investigated. Fundamental differences were found between the degeneration process in the brain and the central nervous system region where we know the most about axon degeneration, i.e. the spinal cord, but also conservation of the molecular mechanisms involved.


  • A tenfold faster form of cortical axon degeneration
  • Cortical axon degeneration is dependent on synaptic density, but is independent of axon complexity
  • A NAD+-dependent pathway independent of transcription regulate this process
  • AAD is negligible on cortical axons and does not affect the membrane in the spinal cord

The findings have been published as a pre-print on bioRxiv.

Single-axon-resolution intravital imaging reveals a rapid onset form of Wallerian degeneration in the adult neocortex.
Canty, A. J., Jackson, J. S., Huang, L., Trabalza, A., Bass, C., Little, G. De Paola, V.
bioRxiv 14 August, (2018, preprint).