[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Following spinal cord injury (SCI), both an inhibitory environment and lack of intrinsic growth capacity impede axonal regeneration. In a previous study, prevention of cyclic AMP hydrolysis by the phosphodiesterase-4 inhibitor, Rolipram, in combination with Schwann cell (SC) grafts promoted significant supraspinal and proprioceptive fiber growth and/or sparing and improved locomotion (36). In another study, transplanted SCs transduced to generate a bifunctional neurotrophin (D15A) led to significant increases in graft SCs and axons, including supraspinal and myelinated axons (16). Here, we studied the growth and myelination of local and supraspinal axons and functional outcome following the combination of Rolipram administration and neurotrophin-transduced SC implantation after SCI. Rolipram was administered subcutaneously for 4 weeks immediately after contusion at vertebral T8 (25.0 mm weight drop, MASCIS impactor). GFP or GFP-D15A transduced SCs were injected into the injury epicenter 1 week after SCI. GFP-D15A SC grafts and GFP SC grafts with Rolipram contained significantly more serotonergic fibers compared to GFP SCs. SC myelinated axons were increased significantly in GFP SC with Rolipram treated animals compared to animals receiving SCI alone. Rolipram administered with either GFP or GFP-D15A SCs significantly increased numbers of brainstem-derived axons below the lesion/implant area and improved hindlimb function. Compared to the single treatments, the combination led to the largest SC grafts, the highest numbers of serotonergic fibers in the grafts, and increased numbers of axons from the reticular formation below the lesion/implant area, and provided the greatest improvement in hindlimb function. These findings demonstrate the therapeutic potential for a combination therapy involving the maintenance of cyclic AMP levels and neurotrophin-transduced SCs to repair the sub-acutely injured spinal cord.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The extent of damage following spinal cord injury (SCI) can be reduced by various neuroprotective regimens that include maintaining levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP), via administration of the phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) inhibitor Rolipram. The current study sought to determine the optimal neuroprotective dose, route and therapeutic window for Rolipram following contusive SCI in rat as well as its prominent PDE target and putative mechanism of protection. Rolipram or vehicle control (10% ethanol) was given subcutaneously (s.c.) daily for 2 wk post-injury (PI) after which the preservation of oligodendrocytes, neurons and central myelinated axons was stereologically assessed. Doses of 0.1 mg/kg to 1.0 mg/kg (given at 1 h PI) increased neuronal survival; 0.5 mg to 1.0 mg/kg protected oligodendrocytes and 1.0 mg/kg produced optimal preservation of central myelinated axons. Ethanol also demonstrated significant neuronal and oligo-protection; though the preservation provided was significantly less than Rolipram. Subsequent use of this optimal Rolipram dose, 1.0 mg/kg, via different routes (i.v., s.c. or oral, 1 h PI), demonstrated that i.v. administration produced the most significant and consistent cyto- and axo- protection, although all routes were effective. Examination of the therapeutic window for i.v. Rolipram (1.0 mg/kg), when initiated between 1 and 48 h after SCI, revealed maximal neuroprotection at 2 h post-SCI, although the protective efficacy of Rolipram could still be observed when administration was delayed for up to 48 h PI. Importantly, use of the optimal Rolipram regimen significantly improved locomotor function after SCI as measured by the BBB score. Lastly we show SCI-induced changes in PDE4A, B and D expression and phosphorylation as well as cytokine expression and immune cell infiltration. We demonstrate that Rolipram abrogates SCI-induced PDE4B1 and PDE4A5 production, PDE4A5 phosphorylation, MCP-1 expression and immune cell infiltration, while preventing post-injury reductions in IL-10. This work supports the use of Rolipram as an acute neuroprotectant following SCI and defines an optimal administration protocol and target for its therapeutic application.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(9):e43634. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hypothermia has been employed during the past 30 years as a therapeutic modality for spinal cord injury (SCI) in animal models and in humans. With our newly developed rat cervical model of contusive SCI, we investigated the therapeutic efficacy of transient systemic hypothermia (beginning 5 minutes post-injury for 4 hours, 33 degrees C) with gradual rewarming (1 degrees C per hour) for the preservation of tissue and the prevention of injury-induced functional loss. A moderate cervical displacement SCI was performed in female Fischer rats, and behavior was assessed for 8 weeks. Histologically, the application of hypothermia after SCI resulted in significant increases in normal-appearing white matter (31% increase) and gray matter (38% increase) volumes, greater preservation (four-fold) of neurons immediately rostral and caudal to the injury epicenter, and enhanced sparing of axonal connections from retrogradely traced reticulospinal neurons (127% increase) compared with normothermic controls. Functionally, a faster rate of recovery in open field locomotor ability (BBB score, weeks 1-3) and improved forelimb strength, as measured by both weight-supported hanging (43% increase) and grip strength (25% increase), were obtained after hypothermia. The current study demonstrates that mild systemic hypothermia is effective for retarding tissue damage and reducing neurological deficits following a clinically relevant contusive cervical SCI.
The Journal of Comparative Neurology 03/2009; 514(5):433-48. · 3.66 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We sought to directly compare growth and myelination of local and supraspinal axons by implanting into the injured spinal cord Schwann cells (SCs) transduced ex vivo with adenoviral (AdV) or lentiviral (LV) vectors encoding a bifunctional neurotrophin molecule (D15A). D15A mimics actions of both neurotrophin-3 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor. Transduced SCs were injected into the injury center 1 week after a moderate thoracic (T8) adult rat spinal cord contusion. D15A expression and bioactivity in vitro; D15A levels in vivo; and graft volume, SC number, implant axon number and cortico-, reticulo-, raphe-, coerulo-spinal and sensory axon growth were determined for both types of vectors employed to transduce SCs. ELISAs revealed that D15A-secreting SC implants contained significantly higher levels of neurotrophin than non-transduced SC and AdV/GFP and LV/GFP SC controls early after implantation. At 6 weeks post-implantation, D15A-secreting SC grafts exhibited 5-fold increases in graft volume, SC number and myelinated axon counts and a 3-fold increase in myelinated to unmyelinated (ensheathed) axon ratios. The total number of axons within grafts of LV/GFP/D15A SCs was estimated to be over 70,000. Also 5-HT, DbetaH, and CGRP axon length was increased up to 5-fold within D15A grafts. In sum, despite qualitative differences using the two vectors, increased neurotrophin secretion by the implanted D15A SCs led to the presence of a significantly increased number of axons in the contusion site. These results demonstrate the therapeutic potential for utilizing neurotrophin-transduced SCs to repair the injured spinal cord.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cervical contusive trauma accounts for the majority, of human spinal cord injury (SCI), yet experimental use of cervical contusion injury models has been limited. Considering that (1) the different ways of injuring the spinal cord (compression, contusion, and transection) induce very different processes of tissue damage and (2) the architecture of the spinal cord is not uniform, it is important to use a model that is more clinically applicable to human SCI. Therefore, in the current study we have developed a rat model of contusive, cervical SCI using the Electromagnetic Spinal Cord Injury Device (ESCID) developed at Ohio State University (OSU) to induce injury by spinal cord displacement. We used the device to perform mild, moderate and severe injuries (0.80, 0.95, and 1.1 mm displacements, respectively) with a single, brief displacement of <20 msec upon the exposed dorsal surface of the C5 cervical spinal cord of female (180-200 g) Fischer rats. Characterization of the model involved the analysis of the temporal histopathological progression of the injury over 9 weeks using histochemical stains to analyze white and gray mater integrity and immunohistochemistry to examine cellular changes and physiological responses within the injured spinal cord. Accompanying the histological analysis was a comprehensive determination of the behavioral functionality of the animals using a battery of motor tests. Characterization of this novel model is presented to enable and encourage its future use in the design and experimental testing of therapeutic strategies that may be used for human SCI.
Journal of Neurotrauma 07/2005; 22(6):680-702. · 4.30 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Due to an ever-growing population of individuals with chronic spinal cord injury, there is a need for experimental models to translate efficacious regenerative and reparative acute therapies to chronic injury application. The present study assessed the ability of fluid grafts of either Schwann cells (SCs) or olfactory ensheathing glia (OEG) to facilitate the growth of supraspinal and afferent axons and promote restitution of hind limb function after transplantation into a 2-month-old, moderate, thoracic (T8) contusion in the rat. The use of cultured glial cells, transduced with lentiviral vectors encoding enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), permitted long-term tracking of the cells following spinal cord transplantation to examine their survival, migration, and axonal association. At 3 months following grafting of 2 million SCs or OEG in 6 microl of DMEM/F12 medium into the injury site, stereological quantification of the three-dimensional reconstructed spinal cords revealed that an average of 17.1 +/- 6.8% of the SCs and 2.3 +/- 1.4% of the OEG survived from the number transplanted. In the OEG grafted spinal cord, a limited number of glia were unable to prevent central cavitation and were found in patches around the cavity rim. The transplanted SCs, however, formed a substantive graft within the injury site capable of supporting the ingrowth of numerous, densely packed neurofilament-positive axons. The SC grafts were able to support growth of both ascending calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-positive and supraspinal serotonergic axons and, although no biotinylated dextran amine (BDA)-traced corticospinal axons were present within the center of the grafts, the SC transplants significantly increased corticospinal axon numbers immediately rostral to the injury-graft site compared with injury-only controls. Moreover, SC grafted animals demonstrated modest, though significant, improvements in open field locomotion and exhibited less foot position errors (base of support and foot rotation). Whereas these results demonstrate that SC grafts survive, support axon growth, and can improve functional outcome after chronic contusive spinal cord injury, further development of OEG grafting procedures in this model and putative combination strategies with SC grafts need to be further explored to produce substantial improvements in axon growth and function.