Axon degeneration is an active, evolutionarily conserved self-destruction program by which compromised axons fragment in response to varied insults. Unlike programmed cell death, axon degeneration is poorly understood. We have combined robotic liquid handling with automated microscopy and image analysis to create a robust screening platform to measure axon degeneration in mammalian primary neuronal cultures. Using this assay, we performed an unbiased screen of 480 bioactive compounds, identifying 11 that reproducibly delay fragmentation of severed axons in vitro, including two inhibitors of glycogen synthase kinase 3 and two inhibitors of IκB kinase. Knockdown of each of these targets by shRNA lentivirus also delays axon degeneration in vitro, further supporting their role in the axon degeneration program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28011-28018
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number32
StatePublished - Aug 12 2011


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