Article

PTEN deletion enhances the regenerative ability of adult corticospinal neurons.

F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center, Children's Hospital, and Department of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Nature Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 15.25). 09/2010; 13(9):1075-81. DOI: 10.1038/nn.2603
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Despite the essential role of the corticospinal tract (CST) in controlling voluntary movements, successful regeneration of large numbers of injured CST axons beyond a spinal cord lesion has never been achieved. We found that PTEN/mTOR are critical for controlling the regenerative capacity of mouse corticospinal neurons. After development, the regrowth potential of CST axons was lost and this was accompanied by a downregulation of mTOR activity in corticospinal neurons. Axonal injury further diminished neuronal mTOR activity in these neurons. Forced upregulation of mTOR activity in corticospinal neurons by conditional deletion of Pten, a negative regulator of mTOR, enhanced compensatory sprouting of uninjured CST axons and enabled successful regeneration of a cohort of injured CST axons past a spinal cord lesion. Furthermore, these regenerating CST axons possessed the ability to reform synapses in spinal segments distal to the injury. Thus, modulating neuronal intrinsic PTEN/mTOR activity represents a potential therapeutic strategy for promoting axon regeneration and functional repair after adult spinal cord injury.

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