Acute inflammation is a normal response upon neuronal injury, yet if left untreated can result in chronic inflammation. Chronic inflammation results in a continued, injury-induced innate immune response and Wallerian degeneration within the axons of the nervous system. Wallerian degeneration is a form of axonal degeneration as a result of injury. Researchers suggest that continual activation of an immune response and Wallerian degeneration can lead to neuropathic pain within the PNS. Neuropathic pain and chronic inflammation have been found to cause neurodegenerative diseases in extreme cases. The present study sought to investigate the connection between the immune system and the nervous system in genetically modified Drosophila melanogaster, using a neuronal injury in the axons of the wing, axotomy. After axotomy, degeneration was measured in the form of cell body count and axon bundle thickness between flies either down-regulated Toll pathway or the IMD pathway immune genes, in addition to wild type flies. Overall, mutant flies with down-regulated innate immune genes showed an increase in degeneration within cell body count and axon bundle thickness. Regardless of the immune pathway, flies with down-regulated genes displayed a higher rate of degeneration and potentially, a lower rate of regeneration within the axons. With continued research, disruptions within innate immunity upon injury constitute future research into determining the root cause of neuropathic and neurodegenerative diseases.


Ferguson, Stephen



Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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