Axonal domain disorganization in Caspr1 and Caspr2 mutant myelinated axons affects neuromuscular junction integrity, leading to muscle atrophy

Julia Saifetiarova, Xi Liu, Anna M. Taylor, Jie Li, Manzoor A. Bhat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Bidirectional interactions between neurons and myelinating glial cells result in formation of axonal domains along myelinated fibers. Loss of axonal domains leads to detrimental consequences on nerve structure and function, resulting in reduced conductive properties and the diminished ability to reliably transmit signals to the targets they innervate. Thus, impairment of peripheral myelinated axons that project to the surface of muscle fibers and form neuromuscular junction (NMJ) synapses leads to muscle dysfunction. The goal of our studies was to determine how altered electrophysiological properties due to axonal domain disorganization lead to muscle pathology, which is relevant to a variety of peripheral neuropathies, demyelinating diseases, and neurodegenerative disorders. Using conventional Contactin-Associated Protein 1 (Caspr1) and Caspr2 single or double mutants with disrupted paranodal, juxtaparanodal, or both regions, respectively, in peripheral myelinated axons, we correlated defects in NMJ integrity and muscle pathology. Our data show that loss of axonal domains in Caspr1 and Caspr2 single and double mutants primarily alters distal myelinated fibers together with presynaptic terminals, eventually leading to NMJ denervation and reduction in postsynaptic endplate areas. Moreover, reduction in conductive properties of peripheral myelinated fibers together with NMJ disintegration leads to muscle atrophy in Caspr1 mutants or muscle fiber degeneration accompanied by mitochondrial dysfunction in Caspr1/Caspr2 double mutants. Together, our data indicate that proper organization of axonal domains in myelinated fibers is critical for optimal propagation of electrical signals, NMJ integrity, and muscle health, and provide insights into a wide range of pathologies that result in reduced nerve conduction leading to muscle atrophy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1373-1390
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017


  • axonal degeneration
  • axonal domains
  • muscle atrophy
  • myelinated fibers
  • nerve conduction
  • neuromuscular junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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