Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (687606)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Transection method for shortening the rat spine and spinal cord 
Previous studies have presented evidence which indicates that the regeneration of axons in the spinal cord occurs following spinal cord transection in young rats. However, in a transection-regeneration model, the completeness of the transection is often a matter of dispute. We established a method for shortening the rat spine and spinal cord to provide a spinal cord injury (SCI) model in which there was no doubt about whether the axonal transection was complete. In the future, this model may be applied to the chronic period of complete paralysis following SCI. Adult, female Wistar rats (220–250g) were used in the study. The spinal cord was exposed and a 4-mm-long segment of the spinal cord was removed at Th8. Subsequently, the Th7/8 and Th8/9 discs were cut between the stumps of the spinal cord to remove the Th8 vertebra. The stitches which had been passed through the 7th and 9th ribs bilaterally were tied gradually to bring together the stumps of the spinal cord. Almost all the rats survived until the end of the experiment. Uncoordinated movements of the hind limbs in locomotion were observed at 4 weeks after surgery. However coordinated movements of the hind limbs in locomotion were not observed until the end of the experiment. After 12 weeks, an intracardiac perfusion was performed to remove the thoracic spine and the spinal cord. There were no signs of infection. The bone fusion of the Th7 and Th9 vertebrae was observed to be complete in all specimens and the alignment of the thoracic spine was maintained. The spinal canal was also correctly reconstituted. The stumps of the spinal cord were connected. Light microscopy of the cord showed that scar tissue intervened at the connection site. Cavitation inhibiting the axonal regeneration was also observed. This model was also made on the assumption that glial scar tissue inhibits axonal regeneration in chronic SCI. Axonal regeneration was not observed across the transected spinal cord in this model. Attempts should be made to minimize the damage to the spinal cord and the surgery time for successful axonal regeneration to occur. The model developed in this study may be useful in the study of axonal regeneration in SCI.
PMCID: PMC3570119  PMID: 23403404
spinal cord injury; animal model; rat
2.  Resection of Glial Scar Following Spinal Cord Injury 
While many studies have focused on modulating the immune response and enhancing axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury (SCI), there is limited work being performed on evaluating the role of glial scar in SCI. We sought to evaluate the effects of glial scar resection in contusion models and dorsal hemisection models of SCI. At one week postinjury, 2mm of glial scar was excised from specimens in one of the two groups from each injury model. Functional outcome was measured weekly using the Basso, Beattie, Bresnahan (BBB) Locomotor Rating Scale along with histologic evaluation of spinal cord tracts to determine axonal regeneration. Within the dorsal hemisection model, there was no significant difference in recovery for animals that underwent glial scar excision versus animals that did not have scar excision (p=0.61). Animals subjected to the contusion model, however, demonstrated lower BBB scores in the glial resection group during the earlier postoperative periods (<4 weeks; p<0.05). Histological analysis revealed no axons within the glial resection contusion model, and moderate axonal growth within the nonresection contusion group and both hemisection groups (p>0.05 for differences among the three groups). While glial scar may serve to stabilize the preserved axonal tracts and thereby permit modest recovery in a contusion model of SCI, it may be of less importance with a dorsal hemisection model. These experiments highlight that basic biologic processes following SCI may vary tremendously based on the injury mechanism and that the role of glial scar in spinal cord regeneration must be elucidated.
PMCID: PMC2696557  PMID: 19062171
axon regeneration; astrocyte; glial scar; spinal cord injury
3.  Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes Chemically Functionalized with Polyethylene Glycol Promote Tissue Repair in a Rat Model of Spinal Cord Injury 
Journal of Neurotrauma  2011;28(11):2349-2362.
Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) induces tissue damage and results in the formation of a cavity that inhibits axonal regrowth. Filling this cavity with a growth-permissive substrate would likely promote regeneration and repair. Single-walled carbon nanotubes functionalized with polyethylene glycol (SWNT-PEG) have been shown to increase the length of selected neurites in vitro. We hypothesized that administration of SWNT-PEG after experimental SCI will promote regeneration of axons into the lesion cavity and functional recovery of the hindlimbs. To evaluate this hypothesis, complete transection SCI was induced at the T9 vertebral level in adult female rats. One week after transection, the epicenter of the lesion was injected with 25 μL of either vehicle (saline), or 1 μg/mL, 10 μg/mL, or 100 μg/mL of SWNT-PEG. Behavioral analysis was conducted before injury, before treatment, and once every 7 days for 28 days after treatment. At 28 days post-injection the rats were euthanized and spinal cord tissue was extracted. Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the area of the cyst, the extent of the glial scar, and axonal morphology. We found that post-SCI administration of SWNT-PEG decreased lesion volume, increased neurofilament-positive fibers and corticospinal tract fibers in the lesion, and did not increase reactive gliosis. Additionally, post-SCI administration of SWNT-PEG induced a modest improvement in hindlimb locomotor recovery without inducing hyperalgesia. These data suggest that SWNT-PEG may be an effective material to promote axonal repair and regeneration after SCI.
PMCID: PMC3218389  PMID: 21303267
axonal regeneration; gliosis; graft; nanofibers; nanomaterials
4.  Two Faces of Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycan in Spinal Cord Repair: A Role in Microglia/Macrophage Activation 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(8):e171.
Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) is a major component of the glial scar. It is considered to be a major obstacle for central nervous system (CNS) recovery after injury, especially in light of its well-known activity in limiting axonal growth. Therefore, its degradation has become a key therapeutic goal in the field of CNS regeneration. Yet, the abundant de novo synthesis of CSPG in response to CNS injury is puzzling. This apparent dichotomy led us to hypothesize that CSPG plays a beneficial role in the repair process, which might have been previously overlooked because of nonoptimal regulation of its levels. This hypothesis is tested in the present study.
Methods and Findings
We inflicted spinal cord injury in adult mice and examined the effects of CSPG on the recovery process. We used xyloside to inhibit CSPG formation at different time points after the injury and analyzed the phenotype acquired by the microglia/macrophages in the lesion site. To distinguish between the resident microglia and infiltrating monocytes, we used chimeric mice whose bone marrow-derived myeloid cells expressed GFP. We found that CSPG plays a key role during the acute recovery stage after spinal cord injury in mice. Inhibition of CSPG synthesis immediately after injury impaired functional motor recovery and increased tissue loss. Using the chimeric mice we found that the immediate inhibition of CSPG production caused a dramatic effect on the spatial organization of the infiltrating myeloid cells around the lesion site, decreased insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) production by microglia/macrophages, and increased tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) levels. In contrast, delayed inhibition, allowing CSPG synthesis during the first 2 d following injury, with subsequent inhibition, improved recovery. Using in vitro studies, we showed that CSPG directly activated microglia/macrophages via the CD44 receptor and modulated neurotrophic factor secretion by these cells.
Our results show that CSPG plays a pivotal role in the repair of injured spinal cord and in the recovery of motor function during the acute phase after the injury; CSPG spatially and temporally controls activity of infiltrating blood-borne monocytes and resident microglia. The distinction made in this study between the beneficial role of CSPG during the acute stage and its deleterious effect at later stages emphasizes the need to retain the endogenous potential of this molecule in repair by controlling its levels at different stages of post-injury repair.
Michal Schwartz and colleagues describe the role of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan in the repair of injured tissue and in the recovery of motor function during the acute phase after spinal cord injury.
Editors' Summary
Every year, spinal cord injuries paralyze about 10,000 people in the United States. The spinal cord, which contains bundles of nervous system cells called neurons, is the communication superhighway between the brain and the body. Messages from the brain travel down the spinal cord to control movement, breathing, and other bodily functions; messages from the skin and other sensory organs travel up the spinal cord to keep the brain informed about the body. All these messages are transmitted along axons, long extensions on the neurons. The spinal cord is protected by the bones of the spine but if these are displaced or broken, the axons can be compressed or cut, which interrupts the information flow. Damage near the top of the spinal cord paralyzes the arms and legs (tetraplegia); damage lower down paralyzes the legs only (paraplegia). Spinal cord injuries also cause other medical problems, including the loss of bowel and bladder control. Currently there is no effective treatment for spinal cord injuries. Treatment with drugs to reduce inflammation has, at best, only modest effects. Moreover, because damaged axons rarely regrow, most spinal cord injuries are permanent.
Why Was This Study Done?
One barrier to recovery after a spinal cord injury seems to be an inappropriate immune response to the injury. After an injury, microglia (immune system cells that live in the nervous system), and macrophages (blood-borne immune system cells that infiltrate the injury) become activated. Microglia/macrophage activation can be either beneficial (the cells make IGF-1, a protein that stimulates axon growth) or destructive (the cells make TNF-α, a protein that kills neurons), so studies of microglia/macrophage activation might suggest ways to treat spinal cord injuries. Another possible barrier to recovery is “chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan” (CSPG). This is a major component of the scar tissue (the “glial scar”) that forms around spinal cord injuries. CSPG limits axon regrowth, so attempts have been made to improve spinal cord repair by removing CSPG. But if CSPG prevents spinal cord repair, why is so much of it made immediately after an injury? In this study, the researchers investigate this paradox by asking whether CSPG made in the right place and in the right amount might have a beneficial role in spinal cord repair that has been overlooked.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers bruised a small section of the spinal cord of mice to cause hind limb paralysis, and then monitored the recovery of movement in these animals. They also examined the injured tissue microscopically, looked for microglia and infiltrating macrophages at the injury site, and measured the production of IGF-1 and TNF-α by these cells. Inhibition of CSPG synthesis immediately after injury impaired the functional recovery of the mice and increased tissue loss at the injury site. It also altered the spatial organization of infiltrating macrophages at the injury site, reduced IGF-1 production by these microglia/macrophages, and increased TNF-α levels. In contrast, when CSPG synthesis was not inhibited until two days after the injury, the mice recovered well from spinal cord injury. Furthermore, the interaction of CSPG with a cell-surface protein called CD44 activated microglia/macrophages growing in dishes and increased their production of IGF-1 but not of molecules that kill neurons.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that, immediately after a spinal cord injury, CSPG is needed for the repair of injured neurons and the recovery of movement, but that later on the presence of CSPG hinders repair. The findings also indicate that CSPG has these effects, at least in part, because it regulates the activity and localization of microglia and macrophages at the injury site and thus modulates local immune responses to the damage. Results obtained from experiments done in animals do not always accurately reflect the situation in people, so these findings need to be confirmed in patients with spinal cord injuries. However, they suggest that the effect of CSPG on spinal cord repair is not an inappropriate response to the injury, as is widely believed. Consequently, careful manipulation of CSPG levels might improve outcomes for people with spinal cord injuries.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia provides information about spinal cord injuries; MedlinePlus provides an interactive tutorial and a list of links to additional information about spinal cord injuries (in English and Spanish)
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke also provides information about spinal cord injury (in English and Spanish)
Wikipedia has a page on glial scars (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC2517615  PMID: 18715114
5.  Meningeal cells and glia establish a permissive environment for axon regeneration after spinal cord injury in newts 
Neural Development  2011;6:1.
Newts have the remarkable ability to regenerate their spinal cords as adults. Their spinal cords regenerate with the regenerating tail after tail amputation, as well as after a gap-inducing spinal cord injury (SCI), such as a complete transection. While most studies on newt spinal cord regeneration have focused on events occurring after tail amputation, less attention has been given to events occurring after an SCI, a context that is more relevant to human SCI. Our goal was to use modern labeling and imaging techniques to observe axons regenerating across a complete transection injury and determine how cells and the extracellular matrix in the injury site might contribute to the regenerative process.
We identify stages of axon regeneration following a spinal cord transection and find that axon regrowth across the lesion appears to be enabled, in part, because meningeal cells and glia form a permissive environment for axon regeneration. Meningeal and endothelial cells regenerate into the lesion first and are associated with a loose extracellular matrix that allows axon growth cone migration. This matrix, paradoxically, consists of both permissive and inhibitory proteins. Axons grow into the injury site next and are closely associated with meningeal cells and glial processes extending from cell bodies surrounding the central canal. Later, ependymal tubes lined with glia extend into the lesion as well. Finally, the meningeal cells, axons, and glia move as a unit to close the gap in the spinal cord. After crossing the injury site, axons travel through white matter to reach synaptic targets, and though ascending axons regenerate, sensory axons do not appear to be among them. This entire regenerative process occurs even in the presence of an inflammatory response.
These data reveal, in detail, the cellular and extracellular events that occur during newt spinal cord regeneration after a transection injury and uncover an important role for meningeal and glial cells in facilitating axon regeneration. Given that these cell types interact to form inhibitory barriers in mammals, identifying the mechanisms underlying their permissive behaviors in the newt will provide new insights for improving spinal cord regeneration in mammals.
PMCID: PMC3025934  PMID: 21205291
6.  Role of Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase in Glial Scar Formation After Spinal Cord Injury in Rats 
Neurochemical Research  2013;38(9):1914-1920.
The study aims to determine the expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) in the glial scar following spinal cord injury in the rat, and to explore its relationship with glial scar formation. A total of 120 Sprague–Dawley rats were randomly divided into three groups: SCI only group (without TERT interference), TERT siRNA group (with TERT interference), and sham group. The TERT siRNA and SCI only groups received spinal cord injury induced by the modified Allen’s weight drop method. In the sham group, the vertebral plate was opened to expose the spinal cord, but no injury was modeled. Five rats from each group were sacrificed under anesthesia at days 1, 3, 5, 7, 14, 28, 42, and 56 after spinal cord injury. Specimens were removed for observation of glial scar formation using hematoxylin-eosin staining and immunofluorescence detection. mRNA and protein expressions of TERT and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) were detected by reverse-transcription (RT)-PCR and western blotting, respectively. Hematoxylin-eosin staining showed evidence of gliosis and glial scarring in the spinal cord injury zone of the TERT siRNA and SCI only groups, but not in the sham group. Immunofluorescence detection showed a significant increase in GFAP expression at all time points after spinal cord injury in the SCI only group (81 %) compared with the TERT siRNA group (67 %) and sham group (2 %). In contrast, the expression of neurofilament protein 200 (NF-200) was gradually reduced and remained at a stable level until 28 days in the SCI only group. There were no NF-200-labeled cells in the spinal cord glial scar and cavity at day 56 after spinal cord injury. NF-200 expression at each time point was significantly lower in the SCI only group than the TERT siRNA group, while there was no change in the sham group. Western blotting showed that TERT and GFAP protein expressions changed dynamically and showed a linear relationship in the SCI only group (r = 0.765, P < 0.01), while there was no obvious linear relationship in the sham group (r = 0.208, P = 0.121). RT-PCR results showed a dynamic expression of TERT and GFAP mRNA in the SCI only group, exhibiting a linear relationship (r = 0.722, P < 0.01), while there was no linear relationship in the sham group (r = 0.206, P = 0.180). Our data indicate that TERT has a dynamic expression in the spinal cord glial scar, which positively correlates to GFAP expression, and may be important for promoting glial scar formation.
PMCID: PMC3732768  PMID: 23793903
Spinal cord injury; Glial scar; Telomerase reverse transcriptase
7.  Reactive Astrocytes in Glial Scar Attract Olfactory Ensheathing Cells Migration by Secreted TNF-α in Spinal Cord Lesion of Rat 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8141.
After spinal cord injury (SCI), the formation of glial scar contributes to the failure of injured adult axons to regenerate past the lesion. Increasing evidence indicates that olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) implanted into spinal cord are found to migrate into the lesion site and induce axons regeneration beyond glial scar and resumption of functions. However, little is known about the mechanisms of OECs migrating from injection site to glial scar/lesion site.
Methods and Findings
In the present study, we identified a link between OECs migration and reactive astrocytes in glial scar that was mediated by the tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Initially, the Boyden chamber migration assay showed that both glial scar tissue and reactive astrocyte-conditioned medium promoted OECs migration in vitro. Reactive astrocyte-derived TNF-α and its type 1 receptor TNFR1 expressed on OECs were identified to be responsible for the promoting effect on OECs migration. TNF-α-induced OECs migration was demonstrated depending on activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling cascades. Furthermore, TNF-α secreted by reactive astrocytes in glial scar was also showed to attract OECs migration in a spinal cord hemisection injury model of rat.
These findings showed that TNF-α was released by reactive astrocytes in glial scar and attracted OECs migration by interacting with TNFR1 expressed on OECs via regulation of ERK signaling. This migration-attracting effect of reactive astrocytes on OECs may suggest a mechanism for guiding OECs migration into glial scar, which is crucial for OECs-mediated axons regrowth beyond the spinal cord lesion site.
PMCID: PMC2780297  PMID: 19997621
8.  Extensive Neuronal Differentiation of Human Neural Stem Cell Grafts in Adult Rat Spinal Cord 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(2):e39.
Effective treatments for degenerative and traumatic diseases of the nervous system are not currently available. The support or replacement of injured neurons with neural grafts, already an established approach in experimental therapeutics, has been recently invigorated with the addition of neural and embryonic stem-derived precursors as inexhaustible, self-propagating alternatives to fetal tissues. The adult spinal cord, i.e., the site of common devastating injuries and motor neuron disease, has been an especially challenging target for stem cell therapies. In most cases, neural stem cell (NSC) transplants have shown either poor differentiation or a preferential choice of glial lineages.
Methods and Findings
In the present investigation, we grafted NSCs from human fetal spinal cord grown in monolayer into the lumbar cord of normal or injured adult nude rats and observed large-scale differentiation of these cells into neurons that formed axons and synapses and established extensive contacts with host motor neurons. Spinal cord microenvironment appeared to influence fate choice, with centrally located cells taking on a predominant neuronal path, and cells located under the pia membrane persisting as NSCs or presenting with astrocytic phenotypes. Slightly fewer than one-tenth of grafted neurons differentiated into oligodendrocytes. The presence of lesions increased the frequency of astrocytic phenotypes in the white matter.
NSC grafts can show substantial neuronal differentiation in the normal and injured adult spinal cord with good potential of integration into host neural circuits. In view of recent similar findings from other laboratories, the extent of neuronal differentiation observed here disputes the notion of a spinal cord that is constitutively unfavorable to neuronal repair. Restoration of spinal cord circuitry in traumatic and degenerative diseases may be more realistic than previously thought, although major challenges remain, especially with respect to the establishment of neuromuscular connections.
When neural stem cells from human fetal spinal cord were grafted into the lumbar cord of normal or injured adult nude rats, substantial neuronal differentiation was found.
Editors' Summary
Every year, spinal cord injuries, many caused by road traffic accidents, paralyze about 11,000 people in the US. This paralysis occurs because the spinal cord is the main communication highway between the body and the brain. Information from the skin and other sensory organs is transmitted to the brain along the spinal cord by bundles of neurons, nervous system cells that transmit and receive messages. The brain then sends information back down the spinal cord to control movement, breathing, and other bodily functions. The bones of the spine normally protect the spinal cord but, if these are broken or dislocated, the spinal cord can be cut or compressed, which interrupts the information flow. Damage near the top of the spinal cord can paralyze the arms and legs (tetraplegia); damage lower down paralyzes the legs only (paraplegia). Spinal cord injuries also cause many other medical problems, including the loss of bowel and bladder control. Although the deleterious effects of spinal cord injuries can be minimized by quickly immobilizing the patient and using drugs to reduce inflammation, the damaged nerve fibers never regrow. Consequently, spinal cord injury is permanent.
Why Was This Study Done?
Scientists are currently searching for ways to reverse spinal cord damage. One potential approach is to replace the damaged neurons using neural stem cells (NSCs). These cells, which can be isolated from embryos and from some areas of the adult nervous system, are able to develop into all the specialized cells types of the nervous system. However, because most attempts to repair spinal cord damage with NSC transplants have been unsuccessful, many scientists believe that the environment of the spinal cord is unsuitable for nerve regeneration. In this study, the researchers have investigated what happens to NSCs derived from the spinal cord of a human fetus after transplantation into the spinal cord of adult rats.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers injected human NSCs that they had grown in dishes into the spinal cord of intact nude rats (animals that lack a functioning immune system and so do not destroy human cells) and into nude rats whose spinal cord had been damaged at the transplantation site. The survival and fate of the transplanted cells was assessed by staining thin slices of spinal cord with an antibody that binds to a human-specific protein and with antibodies that recognize proteins specific to NSCs, neurons, or other nervous system cells. The researchers report that the human cells survived well in the adult spinal cord of the injured and normal rats and migrated into the gray matter of the spinal cord (which contains neuronal cell bodies) and into the white matter (which contains the long extensions of nerve cells that carry nerve impulses). 75% and 60% of the human cells in the gray and white matter, respectively, contained a neuron-specific protein six months after transplantation but only 10% of those in the membrane surrounding the spinal cord became neurons; the rest developed into astrocytes (another nervous system cell type) or remained as stem cells. Finally, many of the human-derived neurons made the neurotransmitter GABA (one of the chemicals that transfers messages between neurons) and made contacts with host spinal cord neurons.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that human NSC grafts can, after all, develop into neurons (predominantly GABA-producing neurons) in normal and injured adult spinal cord and integrate into the existing spinal cord if the conditions are right. Although these animal experiments suggest that NSC transplants might help people with spinal injuries, they have some important limitations. For example, the spinal cord lesions used here are mild and unlike those seen in human patients. This and the use of nude rats might have reduced the scarring in the damaged spinal cord that is often a major barrier to nerve regeneration. Furthermore, the researchers did not test whether NSC transplants provide functional improvements after spinal cord injury. However, since other researchers have also recently reported that NSCs can grow and develop into neurons in injured adult spinal cord, these new results further strengthen hopes it might eventually be possible to use human NSCs to repair damaged spinal cords.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke provides information on spinal cord injury and current spinal cord research
Spinal Research (a UK charity) offers information on spinal cord injury and repair
The US National Spinal Cord Injury Association Web site contains factsheets on spinal cord injuries
MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on spinal cord trauma and interactive tutorials on spinal cord injury
The International Society for Stem Cell Research offers information on all sorts of stem cells including NSCs
The US National Human Neural Stem Cell Resource provides information on human NSCs, including the current US government's stance on stem cell research
PMCID: PMC1796906  PMID: 17298165
9.  Differential activation of astrocytes and microglia after spinal cord injury in the fetal rat 
European Spine Journal  2005;15(2):223-233.
Background: As the immature spinal cord was nerve growth permissive, we examined glial reactions that influence regeneration of the spinal cord in a fetal rat spinal cord injury model. Methods: Three, 7, 21, and 35 days after intrauterine surgery, offsprings were killed and the thoracic and lumbar spinal cords were carefully removed from the spinal column and then cut into 10 μm longitudinal sections. These sections were stained with hematoxylin-eosin, anti-glial fibrillary acidic protein antibody (GFAP) as a marker of astrocytes, and anti-complement CR3 antibody (OX-42) as a marker of microglia. A cordotomy model in a young adult rat was utilized as a control. Results: In the present study, collagen fibers and scar formation were seen in the severed spinal cords of mature rats, but scar formation was not seen in the fetal rat cordotomy group, regardless of spinal continuity. In the control group, biological activity of GFAP-positive cells increased over time. In the fetal rat cordotomy model, activity elevated slightly immediately after cordotomy, and disappeared shortly thereafter. In the control group, OX-42-positive macrophage-like cells proliferated over time. However, in the fetal rat cordotomy model, OX-42- positive macrophage-like cells were recognized on postoperative days 3 and 7, and then disappeared. At 5 mm from the cordotomy site, reactive microglia were recognized in the white matter of control group spinal cords, but these microglia were not recognized in the fetal rat cordotomy model. Conclusions: In the present study, collagen fibers and scar formation were seen in the severed spinal cords of adult rats, but scar formation was not seen in the fetal rat cordotomy group. Lack of inflammation and scar formation thus appear advantageous for regeneration of the fetal spinal cord. Between fetal and mature rats, chronological changes in the immunohistochemical reactions of astrocytes and microglia following cordotomy were compared, and the results confirmed many differences. The results of the present study suggest that the presence of activated glial cells around damaged central nervous tissue and the quick disappearance of these cells after injury are important for the repair of damaged central nervous system tissue, and that the role of glial cells in nerve regeneration can change depending on the level of maturity of glial cells or surrounding cells, site of injury, or the state of tissue around the injury.
PMCID: PMC3489404  PMID: 16292632
Fetal surgery; Immunohistochemistry; Astrocytes; Microglia; Spinal cord injury
10.  EphA4 deficient mice maintain astroglial-fibrotic scar formation after spinal cord injury 
Experimental neurology  2010;223(2):582-598.
One important aspect of recovery and repair after spinal cord injury (SCI) lies in the complex cellular interactions at the injury site that leads to the formation of a lesion scar. EphA4, a promiscuous member of the EphA family of repulsive axon guidance receptors, is expressed by multiple cell types in the injured spinal cord, including astrocytes and neurons. We hypothesized that EphA4 contributes to aspects of cell-cell interactions at the injury site after SCI, thus modulating the formation of the astroglial-fibrotic scar. To test this hypothesis, we studied tissue responses to a thoracic dorsal hemisection SCI in an EphA4 mutant mouse line. We found that EphA4 expression, as assessed by β-galactosidase reporter gene activity, is associated primarily with astrocytes in the spinal cord, neurons in the cerebral cortex and, to a lesser extent, spinal neurons, before and after SCI. However, we did not observe any overt reduction of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression in the injured area of EphA4 mutants in comparison with controls following SCI. Furthermore, there was no evident disruption of the fibrotic scar, and the boundary between reactive astrocytes and meningeal fibroblasts appeared unaltered in the mutants, as were lesion size, neuronal survival and inflammation marker expression. Thus, genetic deletion of EphA4 does not significantly alter the astroglial response or the formation of the astroglial-fibrotic scar following a dorsal hemisection SCI in mice. In contrast to what has been proposed, these data do not support a major role for EphA4 in reactive astrogliosis following SCI.
PMCID: PMC2864333  PMID: 20170651
Spinal cord injury; Eph receptor; glial scar; fibrotic scar; astroglial response; meningeal cells; CNS repair
11.  Astrocytes derived from glial-restricted precursors promote spinal cord repair 
Journal of Biology  2006;5(3):7.
Transplantation of embryonic stem or neural progenitor cells is an attractive strategy for repair of the injured central nervous system. Transplantation of these cells alone to acute spinal cord injuries has not, however, resulted in robust axon regeneration beyond the sites of injury. This may be due to progenitors differentiating to cell types that support axon growth poorly and/or their inability to modify the inhibitory environment of adult central nervous system (CNS) injuries. We reasoned therefore that pre-differentiation of embryonic neural precursors to astrocytes, which are thought to support axon growth in the injured immature CNS, would be more beneficial for CNS repair.
Transplantation of astrocytes derived from embryonic glial-restricted precursors (GRPs) promoted robust axon growth and restoration of locomotor function after acute transection injuries of the adult rat spinal cord. Transplantation of GRP-derived astrocytes (GDAs) into dorsal column injuries promoted growth of over 60% of ascending dorsal column axons into the centers of the lesions, with 66% of these axons extending beyond the injury sites. Grid-walk analysis of GDA-transplanted rats with rubrospinal tract injuries revealed significant improvements in locomotor function. GDA transplantation also induced a striking realignment of injured tissue, suppressed initial scarring and rescued axotomized CNS neurons with cut axons from atrophy. In sharp contrast, undifferentiated GRPs failed to suppress scar formation or support axon growth and locomotor recovery.
Pre-differentiation of glial precursors into GDAs before transplantation into spinal cord injuries leads to significantly improved outcomes over precursor cell transplantation, providing both a novel strategy and a highly effective new cell type for repairing CNS injuries.
PMCID: PMC1561531  PMID: 16643674
12.  A review article on the diagnosis and treatment of cerebrospinal fluid fistulas and dural tears occurring during spinal surgery 
Surgical Neurology International  2013;4(Suppl 5):S301-S317.
In spinal surgery, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fistulas attributed to deliberate dural opening (e.g., for tumors, shunts, marsupialization of cysts) or inadvertent/traumatic dural tears (DTs) need to be readily recognized, and appropriately treated.
During spinal surgery, the dura may be deliberately opened to resect intradural lesions/tumors, to perform shunts, or to open/marsupialize cysts. DTs, however, may inadvertently occur during primary, but are seen more frequently during revision spinal surgery often attributed to epidural scarring. Other etiologies of CSF fistulas/DTs include; epidural steroid injections, and resection of ossification of the posterior longitudinal ligament (OPLL) or ossification of the yellow ligament (OYL). Whatever the etiology of CSF fistulas or DTs, they must be diagnosed utilizing radioisotope cisternography (RIC), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed axial tomography (CT) studies, and expeditiously repaired.
DTs should be repaired utilizing interrupted 7-0 Gore-Tex (W.L. Gore and Associates Inc., Elkton, MD, USA) sutures, as the suture itself is larger than the needle; the larger suture occludes the dural puncture site. Closure may also include muscle patch grafts, dural patches/substitutes (bovine pericardium), microfibrillar collagen (Duragen: Integra Life Sciences Holdings Corporation, Plainsboro, NJ), and fibrin glues or dural sealants (Tisseel: Baxter Healthcare Corporation, Deerfield, IL, USA). Only rarely are lumbar drains and wound-peritoneal and/or lumboperitoneal shunts warranted.
DTs or CSF fistulas attributed to primary/secondary spinal surgery, trauma, epidural injections, OPLL, OYL, and other factors, require timely diagnosis (MRI/CT/Cisternography), and appropriate reconstruction.
PMCID: PMC3801173  PMID: 24163783
Cerebrospinal fluid; dural sealants; fibrin sealants; fistulas; muscle grafts; reconstruction methods; spinal surgery; suture techniques
13.  Perivascular Fibroblasts Form the Fibrotic Scar after Contusive Spinal Cord Injury 
The Journal of Neuroscience  2013;33(34):13882-13887.
Injury to the CNS leads to formation of scar tissue, which is important in sealing the lesion and inhibiting axon regeneration. The fibrotic scar that comprises a dense extracellular matrix is thought to originate from meningeal cells surrounding the CNS. However, using transgenic mice, we demonstrate that perivascular collagen1α1 cells are the main source of the cellular composition of the fibrotic scar after contusive spinal cord injury in which the dura remains intact. Using genetic lineage tracing, light sheet fluorescent microscopy, and antigenic profiling, we identify collagen1α1 cells as perivascular fibroblasts that are distinct from pericytes. Our results identify collagen1α1 cells as a novel source of the fibrotic scar after spinal cord injury and shift the focus from the meninges to the vasculature during scar formation.
PMCID: PMC3755723  PMID: 23966707
14.  NG2 and phosphacan are present in the astroglial scar after human traumatic spinal cord injury 
BMC Neurology  2009;9:32.
A major class of axon growth-repulsive molecules associated with CNS scar tissue is the family of chondroitin sulphate proteoglycans (CSPGs). Experimental spinal cord injury (SCI) has demonstrated rapid re-expression of CSPGs at and around the lesion site. The pharmacological digestion of CSPGs in such lesion models results in substantially enhanced axonal regeneration and a significant functional recovery. The potential therapeutic relevance of interfering with CSPG expression or function following experimental injuries seems clear, however, the spatio-temporal pattern of expression of individual members of the CSPG family following human spinal cord injury is only poorly defined. In the present correlative investigation, the expression pattern of CSPG family members NG2, neurocan, versican and phosphacan was studied in the human spinal cord.
An immunohistochemical investigation in post mortem samples of control and lesioned human spinal cords was performed. All patients with traumatic SCI had been clinically diagnosed as having "complete" injuries and presented lesions of the maceration type.
In sections from control spinal cord, NG2 immunoreactivity was restricted to stellate-shaped cells corresponding to oligodendrocyte precursor cells. The distribution patterns of phosphacan, neurocan and versican in control human spinal cord parenchyma were similar, with a fine reticular pattern being observed in white matter (but also located in gray matter for phosphacan). Neurocan staining was also associated with blood vessel walls. Furthermore, phosphacan, neurocan and versican were present in the myelin sheaths of ventral and dorsal nerve roots axons. After human SCI, NG2 and phosphacan were both detected in the evolving astroglial scar. Neurocan and versican were detected exclusively in the lesion epicentre, being associated with infiltrating Schwann cells in the myelin sheaths of invading peripheral nerve fibres from lesioned dorsal roots.
NG2 and phosphacan were both present in the evolving astroglial scar and, therefore, might play an important role in the blockade of successful CNS regeneration. Neurocan and versican, however, were located at the lesion epicentre, associated with Schwann cell myelin on regenerating peripheral nerve fibres, a distribution that was unlikely to contribute to failed CNS axon regeneration. The present data points to the importance of such correlative investigations for demonstrating the clinical relevance of experimental data.
PMCID: PMC2725028  PMID: 19604403
Neuroscience  2008;156(3):498-514.
Spinal cord injury (SCI) in mammals leads to a robust inflammatory response followed by the formation of a glial and connective tissue scar that comprises a barrier to axonal regeneration. The inbred MRL/MpJ mouse strain exhibits reduced inflammation after peripheral injury and shows true regeneration without tissue scar formation following an ear punch wound. We hypothesized that following SCI, the unique genetic wound healing traits of this strain would result in reduced glial and connective tissue scar formation, increased axonal growth, and improved functional recovery. Adult MRL/MpJ and C57BL/6J mice were subjected to a mid-thoracic spinal contusion and the distribution of axon profiles and selected cellular and extracellular matrix components was compared at 1, 2, 4 and 6 weeks post-injury. Recovery of hind-limb locomotor function was assessed over the same time period. The MRL/MpJ mice exhibited robust axon growth within the lesion, beginning at 4 weeks post-injury. This growth was accompanied by reduced macrophage staining at 1, 2, 4 and 6 weeks post-injury, decreased chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan staining at 1–2 weeks and increased laminin staining throughout the lesion at 2–6 weeks post-injury. Paradoxically, the extent of locomotor recovery was impaired in the MRL/MpJ mice. Close examination of the chronic lesion site revealed evidence of ongoing degeneration both within and surrounding the lesion site. Thus, the regenerative genetic wound healing traits of the MRL/MpJ mice contribute to the evolution of a lesion environment that supports enhanced axon growth after SCI. However, this response occurs at the expense of meaningful functional recovery.
PMCID: PMC2579759  PMID: 18786615
regeneration; degeneration; contusion; inflammation; astrocyte; glial scar
16.  Fgf2 improves functional recovery—decreasing gliosis and increasing radial glia and neural progenitor cells after spinal cord injury 
Brain and Behavior  2014;4(2):187-200.
A major impediment for recovery after mammalian spinal cord injury (SCI) is the glial scar formed by proliferating reactive astrocytes. Finding factors that may reduce glial scarring, increase neuronal survival, and promote neurite outgrowth are of major importance for improving the outcome after SCI. Exogenous fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) has been shown to decrease injury volume and improve functional outcome; however, the mechanisms by which this is mediated are still largely unknown.
In this study, Fgf2 was administered for 2 weeks in mice subcutaneously, starting 30 min after spinal cord hemisection.
Fgf2 treatment decreased the expression of TNF-a at the lesion site, decreased monocyte/macrophage infiltration, and decreased gliosis. Fgf2 induced astrocytes to adopt a polarized morphology and increased expression of radial markers such as Pax6 and nestin. In addition, the levels of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs), expressed by glia, were markedly decreased. Furthermore, Fgf2 treatment promotes the formation of parallel glial processes, “bridges,” at the lesion site that enable regenerating axons through the injury site. Additionally, Fgf2 treatment increased Sox2-expressing cells in the gray matter and neurogenesis around and at the lesion site. Importantly, these effects were correlated with enhanced functional recovery of the left paretic hind limb.
Thus, early pharmacological intervention with Fgf2 following SCI is neuroprotective and creates a proregenerative environment by the modulation of the glia response.
PMCID: PMC3967535  PMID: 24683512
Astroglia; GFAP; nestin; Pax6; progenitors; regeneration; Sox2; spinal cord injury
17.  Matrix metalloproteinase-9 facilitates glial scar formation in the injured spinal cord 
In the injured spinal cord, a glial scar forms and becomes a major obstacle to axonal regeneration. Formation of the glial scar involves migration of astrocytes toward the lesion. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), including MMP-9 and MMP-2, govern cell migration through their ability to degrade constituents of the extracellular matrix. Although MMP-9 is expressed in reactive astrocytes, its involvement in astrocyte migration and formation of a glial scar is unknown. Here we found that spinal cord injured, wild-type mice expressing MMPs developed a more severe glial scar and enhanced expression of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, indicative of a more inhibitory environment for axonal regeneration/plasticity, than MMP-9 null mice. To determine if MMP-9 mediates astrocyte migration, we conducted a scratch wound assay using astrocytes cultured from MMP-9 null, MMP-2 null, and wild-type mice. Gelatin zymography confirmed the expression of MMP-9 and MMP-2 in wild-type cultures. MMP-9 null astrocytes and wild-type astrocytes, treated with an MMP-9 inhibitor, exhibited impaired migration relative to untreated wild-type controls. MMP-9 null astrocytes showed abnormalities in the actin cytoskeletal organization and function but no detectable untoward effects on proliferation, cellular viability, or adhesion. Interestingly, MMP-2 null astrocytes showed increased migration, which could be attenuated in the presence of an MMP-9 inhibitor. Collectively, our studies provide explicit evidence that MMP-9 is integral to the formation of an inhibitory glial scar and cytoskeleton-mediated astrocyte migration. MMP-9 may thus be a promising therapeutic target to reduce glial scarring during wound healing after spinal cord injury.
PMCID: PMC2712293  PMID: 19074020
gelatinase; glial fibrillary acidic protein; chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan; extracellular matrix; actin; Rac1
18.  Transforming Growth Factor Alpha (TGFα) Transforms Astrocytes to a Growth Supportive Phenotype after Spinal Cord Injury 
Astrocytes are both detrimental and beneficial for repair and recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI). These dynamic cells are primary contributors to the growth-inhibitory glial scar, yet they are also neuroprotective and can form growth-supportive bridges upon which axons traverse. We have shown that intrathecal administration of transforming growth factor alpha (TGFα) to the contused mouse spinal cord can enhance astrocyte infiltration and axonal growth within the injury site, but the mechanisms of these effects are not well understood. The present studies demonstrate that the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is upregulated primarily by astrocytes and glial progenitors early after SCI. TGFα directly activates the EGFR on these cells in vitro, inducing their proliferation, migration, and transformation to a phenotype that supports robust neurite outgrowth. Overexpression of TGFα in vivo by intraparenchymal adeno-associated virus injection adjacent to the injury site enhances cell proliferation, alters astrocyte distribution and facilitates increased axonal penetration at the rostral lesion border. To determine if endogenous EGFR activation is required after injury, SCI was also performed on Velvet (C57BL/6J-EgfrVel/J) mice, a mutant strain with defective EGFR activity. The affected mice exhibited malformed glial borders, larger lesions, and impaired recovery of function, indicating that intrinsic EGFR activation is necessary for neuroprotection and normal glial scar formation after SCI. By further stimulating precursor proliferation and modifying glial activation to promote a growth permissive environment, controlled stimulation of EGFR at the lesion border may be considered in the context of future strategies to enhance endogenous cellular repair following injury.
PMCID: PMC3213757  PMID: 22016551
19.  Combined transplantation of GDAsBMP and hr-decorin in spinal cord contusion repair 
Neural Regeneration Research  2013;8(24):2236-2248.
Following spinal cord injury, astrocyte proliferation and scar formation are the main factors inhibiting the regeneration and growth of spinal cord axons. Recombinant decorin suppresses inflammatory reactions, inhibits glial scar formation, and promotes axonal growth. Rat models of T8 spinal cord contusion were created with the NYU impactor and these models were subjected to combined transplantation of bone morphogenetic protein-4-induced glial-restricted precursor-derived astrocytes and human recombinant decorin transplantation. At 28 days after spinal cord contusion, double-immunofluorescent histochemistry revealed that combined transplantation inhibited the early inflammatory response in injured rats. Furthermore, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which was secreted by transplanted cells, protected injured axons. The combined transplantation promoted axonal regeneration and growth of injured motor and sensory neurons by inhibiting astrocyte proliferation and glial scar formation, with astrocytes forming a linear arrangement in the contused spinal cord, thus providing axonal regeneration channels.
PMCID: PMC4146032  PMID: 25206533
neural regeneration; spinal cord injury; astrocytes; glial scar; neural stem cells; combined trans-plantation; glial progenitor cells; glial cells; human recombinant decorin; brain-derived growth factor; glial fibrillary acidic protein; grants-supported paper; neuroregeneration
20.  Interleukin-6 Secretion by Astrocytes Is Dynamically Regulated by PI3K-mTOR-Calcium Signaling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e92649.
After contusion spinal cord injury (SCI), astrocytes become reactive and form a glial scar. While this reduces spreading of the damage by containing the area of injury, it inhibits regeneration. One strategy to improve the recovery after SCI is therefore to reduce the inhibitory effect of the scar, once the acute phase of the injury has passed. The pleiotropic cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) is secreted immediately after injury and regulates scar formation; however, little is known about the role of IL-6 in the sub-acute phases of SCI. Interestingly, IL-6 also promotes axon regeneration, and therefore its induction in reactive astrocytes may improve regeneration after SCI. We found that IL-6 is expressed by astrocytes and neurons one week post-injury and then declines. Using primary cultures of rat astrocytes we delineated the molecular mechanisms that regulate IL-6 expression and secretion. IL-6 expression requires activation of p38 and depends on NF-κB transcriptional activity. Activation of these pathways in astrocytes occurs when the PI3K-mTOR-AKT pathway is inhibited. Furthermore, we found that an increase in cytosolic calcium concentration was necessary for IL-6 secretion. To induce IL-6 secretion in astrocytes, we used torin2 and rapamycin to block the PI3K-mTOR pathway and increase cytosolic calcium, respectively. Treating injured animals with torin2 and rapamycin for two weeks, starting two weeks after injury when the scar has been formed, lead to a modest effect on mechanical hypersensitivity, limited to the period of treatment. These data, taken together, suggest that treatment with torin2 and rapamycin induces IL-6 secretion by astrocytes and may contribute to the reduction of mechanical hypersensitivity after SCI.
PMCID: PMC3965459  PMID: 24667246
21.  Peripheral Nerve Grafts Support Regeneration after Spinal Cord Injury 
Neurotherapeutics  2011;8(2):294-303.
Traumatic insults to the spinal cord induce both immediate mechanical damage and subsequent tissue degeneration leading to a substantial physiological, biochemical, and functional reorganization of the spinal cord. Various spinal cord injury (SCI) models have shown the adaptive potential of the spinal cord and its limitations in the case of total or partial absence of supraspinal influence. Meaningful recovery of function after SCI will most likely result from a combination of therapeutic strategies, including neural tissue transplants, exogenous neurotrophic factors, elimination of inhibitory molecules, functional sensorimotor training, and/or electrical stimulation of paralyzed muscles or spinal circuits. Peripheral nerve grafts provide a growth-permissive substratum and local neurotrophic factors to enhance the regenerative effort of axotomized neurons when grafted into the site of injury. Regenerating axons can be directed via the peripheral nerve graft toward an appropriate target, but they fail to extend beyond the distal graft–host interface because of the deposition of growth inhibitors at the site of SCI. One method to facilitate the emergence of axons from a graft into the spinal cord is to digest the chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans that are associated with a glial scar. Importantly, regenerating axons that do exit the graft are capable of forming functional synaptic contacts. These results have been demonstrated in acute injury models in rats and cats and after a chronic injury in rats and have important implications for our continuing efforts to promote structural and functional repair after SCI.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13311-011-0024-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3101823  PMID: 21360238
Spinal cord injury; peripheral nerve graft; axon regeneration; transplantation; neuroplasticity; chondroitinase
22.  Photomechanical Wave-Driven Delivery of siRNAs Targeting Intermediate Filament Proteins Promotes Functional Recovery after Spinal Cord Injury in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51744.
The formation of glial scars after spinal cord injury (SCI) is one of the factors inhibiting axonal regeneration. Glial scars are mainly composed of reactive astrocytes overexpressing intermediate filament (IF) proteins such as glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and vimentin. In the current study, we delivered small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) targeting these IF proteins to SCI model rats using photomechanical waves (PMWs), and examined the restoration of motor function in the rats. PMWs are generated by irradiating a light-absorbing material with 532-nm nanosecond laser pulses from a Q-switched Nd:YAG laser. PMWs can site-selectively increase the permeability of the cell membrane for molecular delivery. Rat spinal cord was injured using a weight-drop device and the siRNA(s) solutions were intrathecally injected into the vicinity of the exposed SCI, to which PMWs were applied. We first confirmed the substantial uptake of fluorescence-labeled siRNA by deep glial cells; then we delivered siRNAs targeting GFAP and vimentin into the lesion. The treatment led to a significant improvement in locomotive function from five days post-injury in rats that underwent PMW-mediated siRNA delivery. This was attributable to the moderate silencing of the IF proteins and the subsequent decrease in the cavity area in the injured spinal tissue.
PMCID: PMC3522723  PMID: 23272155
23.  Crmp4 deletion promotes recovery from spinal cord injury by neuroprotection and limited scar formation 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:8269.
Axonal outgrowth inhibitors and scar formation are two major obstacles to central nervous system (CNS) repair. No target molecule that regulates both axonal growth and scarring has been identified. Here we identified collapsin response mediator protein 4 (CRMP4), a common mediator of inhibitory signals after neural injury, as a crucial factor that contributes to both axonal growth inhibition and scarring after spinal cord injury (SCI). We found increases in the inhibitory and toxic forms of CRMP4 in injured spinal cord. Notably, CRMP4 expression was evident in inflammatory cells as well as in neurons after spinal cord transection. Crmp4−/− mice displayed neuroprotection against SCI and reductions in inflammatory response and scar formation. This permissive environment for axonal growth due to CRMP4 deletion restored locomotor activity at an unusually early phase of healing. These results suggest that deletion of CRMP4 is a unique therapeutic strategy that overcomes two obstacles to CNS repair after SCI.
PMCID: PMC4317684  PMID: 25652774
24.  Epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor ameliorates excessive astrogliosis and improves the regeneration microenvironment and functional recovery in adult rats following spinal cord injury 
Astrogliosis is a common phenomenon after spinal cord injury (SCI). Although this process exerts positive effects on axonal regeneration, excessive astrogliosis imparts negative effects on neuronal repair and recovery. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway is critical to the regulation of reactive astrogliosis, and therefore is a potential target of therapeutics to better control the response. In this report, we aim to investigate whether blocking EGFR signaling using an EGFR tyrosine kinase specific inhibitor can attenuate reactive astrogliosis and promote functional recovery after a traumatic SCI.
The astrocyte scratch injury model in vitro and the weight-drop SCI model in vivo were used as model systems. PD168393 was used to inhibit EGFR signaling activation. Astrocytic activation and phosphorylated EGFR (pEGFR) were observed after immunofluorescence staining and Western blot analysis. The rate of proliferation was determined by immunofluorescence detection of BrdU-incorporating cells located next to the wound. The levels of TNF-α, iNOS, COX-2 and IL-1β in the culture medium under different conditions were assayed by ELISA. Western blot was performed to semi-quantify the expression of EGFR/pEGFR, glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs). Myelin was stained by Luxol Fast Blue Staining. Cresyl violet eosin staining was performed to analyze the lesion cavity volume and neuronal survival following injury. Finally, functional scoring and residual urine recording were performed to show the rats’ recovery.
EGFR phosphorylation was found to parallel astrocyte activation, and EGFR inhibitor PD168393 potently inhibited scratch-induced reactive astrogliosis and proinflammatory cytokine/mediator secretion of reactive astrocytes in vitro. Moreover, local administration of PD168393 in the injured area suppressed CSPGs production and glial scar formation, and resulted in reduced demyelination and neuronal loss, which correlated with remarkable hindlimb motor function and bladder improvement in SCI rats.
The specific EGFR inhibitor PD168393 can ameliorate excessive reactive astrogliosis and facilitate a more favorable environment for axonal regeneration after SCI. As such, EGFR inhibitor may be a promising therapeutic intervention in CNS injury.
PMCID: PMC4030311  PMID: 24708754
Epidermal growth factor receptor; Astrogliosis; Spinal cord injury; Regeneration microenvironment
25.  Cortical Gene Expression in Spinal Cord Injury and Repair: Insight into the Functional Complexity of the Neural Regeneration Program 
Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) results in the formation of a fibrous scar acting as a growth barrier for regenerating axons at the lesion site. We have previously shown (Klapka et al., 2005) that transient suppression of the inhibitory lesion scar in rat spinal cord leads to long distance axon regeneration, retrograde rescue of axotomized cortical motoneurons, and improvement of locomotor function. Here we applied a systemic approach to investigate for the first time specific and dynamic alterations in the cortical gene expression profile following both thoracic SCI and regeneration-promoting anti-scarring treatment (AST). In order to monitor cortical gene expression we carried out microarray analyses using total RNA isolated from layer V/VI of rat sensorimotor cortex at 1–60 days post-operation (dpo). We demonstrate that cortical neurons respond to injury by massive changes in gene expression, starting as early as 1 dpo. AST, in turn, results in profound modifications of the lesion-induced expression profile. The treatment attenuates SCI-triggered transcriptional changes of genes related to inhibition of axon growth and impairment of cell survival, while upregulating the expression of genes associated with axon outgrowth, cell protection, and neural development. Thus, AST not only modifies the local environment impeding spinal cord regeneration by reduction of fibrous scarring in the injured spinal cord, but, in addition, strikingly changes the intrinsic capacity of cortical pyramidal neurons toward enhanced cell maintenance and axonal regeneration.
PMCID: PMC3182759  PMID: 21994489
anti-scarring treatment; axonal regeneration; axotomy; corticospinal tract; lesion scar; microarray; sensorimotor cortex; spinal cord injury

Results 1-25 (687606)