A mathematical model of neurofilament transport in axons

Gheorghe Craciun
Mathematical Biosciences Institute
University of Ohio


Neurofilaments are space-filling cytoskeletal polymers that increase axonal cross-sectional area, thereby influencing axonal conduction velocity. Impairments in neurofilament transport can result in abnormal accumulations that obstruct the transport of other axonal cargo, and are involved in several neurodegenerative diseases, such as ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) and giant axonal neuropathy. We present a mathematical model for neurofilament transport, based on interactions between neurofilaments and microtubules, mediated by motor proteins. This model is consistent with fluorescence microscopy experiments in cultured neurons, and with radio-isotopic pulse labeling experiments in vivo. Using this model we test several hypotheses concerning the mechanism for neurofilament transport.


G Craciun, A Brown, A Friedman, "A Dynamical System Model of Neurofilament Transport in Axons", submitted, 2004. PDF.

A Brown, "Slow axonal transport: stop and go traffic in the axon", Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 1:153-6 2000. PubMed. PDF.