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Schwann cell p75NTR prevents spontaneous sensory reinnervation of the adult spinal cord

Schwann cells are attractive candidates for repair of the injured spinal cord. Transplanted Schwann cells are permissive to regeneration, but their ability to promote regeneration into distal spinal cord remains weak despite their production of growth-promoting neurotrophins. Schwann cell activation such as that which accompanies peripheral nerve injury results in massive upregulation of the p75(NTR) pan-neurotrophin-receptor. Here we test the hypothesis that this p75(NTR) upregulation following dorsal root injury limits availability of endogenous neurotrophin to axons and restricts regeneration of injured axons into the spinal cord. We injured dorsal roots (fourth cervical to second thoracic) in mice lacking the neurotrophin-binding domain of p75(NTR) and in wild-type littermates. Axonal regeneration was assessed by selective tracing of neurotrophin-responsive and non-responsive dorsal root ganglion neurons. Functional reinnervation of the spinal cord was assessed in behavioural experiments and via Fos immunohistochemistry following formalin injection into the forepaw. We also measured levels of nerve growth factor and neurotrophin-3 following nerve injury in knockout and wild-type mice, and used Trk-Fc receptor chimeras to block nerve growth factor and neurotrophin-3 signalling in dorsal root ganglion/Schwann cell co-cultures and following dorsal root injury in vivo. The roles of neuronal and glial p75(NTR) were assessed in transplant experiments in vivo and in co-cultures. We found that nerve growth factor and neurotrophin-3-responsive axons regenerated into the spinal cord of p75(NTR) knockout mice where they made functional connections with dorsal horn neurons. Despite equivalent levels of nerve growth factor and neurotrophin-3 in wild-type and knockout mice, successful regeneration in knockouts was neurotrophin-dependent. Transplantation of p75(-/-) neurons into a wild-type environment, p75(-/-) peripheral nerve grafts into the injured p75(+/+) spinal cord, and dissociated sensory neuron/Schwann cell co-cultures showed that the absence of p75(NTR) from glia, not from neurons, promotes regeneration. These findings indicate that Schwann cell p75(NTR) restricts neurotrophin availability to the extent that it prevents spontaneous sensory axon regeneration into the spinal cord. The implication is that inactivating p75(NTR) in Schwann (or olfactory ensheathing) cells may enable axons to grow beyond transplants, improving the outcome of spinal cord injury

Keywords : Adult,Age Factors,Animals,antagonists & inhibitors,Axons,Cells,Cultured,Coculture Techniques,deficiency,genetics,Growth,Immunohistochemistry,injuries,Male,Mice,Mice,Inbred C57BL,Mice,Knockout,Nerve Growth Factor,Nerve Growth Factors,Nerve Regeneration,Neural Inhibition,Neurons,Neurotrophin 3,Peripheral Nerve Injuries,physiology,Rats,Rats,Sprague-Dawley,Receptors,Nerve Growth Factor,Regeneration,Schwann Cells,Sensory Receptor Cells,Spinal Cord,Spinal Cord Injuries,transplantation,ultrastructure,, Cell,P75ntr,Prevents,Spontaneous,Sensory, neck pain computer chair

Date of Publication : 2010 Feb

Authors : Scott AL;Ramer MS;

Organisation : Blusson Spinal Cord Centre, , Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9, Canada

Journal of Publication : Brain

Pubmed Link : https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20047901

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