[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Following spinal trauma, the limited physiological axonal sprouting that contributes to partial recovery of function is dependent upon the intrinsic properties of neurons as well as the inhibitory glial environment. The transcription factor p53 is involved in DNA repair, cell cycle, cell survival, and axonal outgrowth, suggesting p53 as key modifier of axonal and glial responses influencing functional recovery following spinal injury. Indeed, in a spinal cord dorsal hemisection injury model, we observed a significant impairment in locomotor recovery in p53(-/-) versus wild-type mice. p53(-/-) spinal cords showed an increased number of activated microglia/macrophages and a larger scar at the lesion site. Loss- and gain-of-function experiments suggested p53 as a direct regulator of microglia/macrophages proliferation. At the axonal level, p53(-/-) mice showed a more pronounced dieback of the corticospinal tract (CST) and a decreased sprouting capacity of both CST and spinal serotoninergic fibers. In vivo expression of p53 in the sensorimotor cortex rescued and enhanced the sprouting potential of the CST in p53(-/-) mice, while, similarly, p53 expression in p53(-/-) cultured cortical neurons rescued a defect in neurite outgrowth, suggesting a direct role for p53 in regulating the intrinsic sprouting ability of CNS neurons. In conclusion, we show that p53 plays an important regulatory role at both extrinsic and intrinsic levels affecting the recovery of motor function following spinal cord injury. Therefore, we propose p53 as a novel potential multilevel therapeutic target for spinal cord injury.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One only needs to see a salamander regrowing a lost limb to become fascinated by regeneration. However, the lack of robust axonal regeneration models for which good cellular and molecular tools exist has hampered progress in the field. Nevertheless, the nervous system has been revealed to be an excellent model to investigate regeneration. There are conspicuous differences in neuroregeneration capacity between amphibia and warm-blooded animals, as well as between the central and the peripheral nervous systems in mammals. Exploration of such discrepancies led to significant discoveries on the basic tenets of neuroregeneration in the last two decades, identifying several positive and negative regulators of axonal regeneration. Implications of these findings to the comprehension of mammalian regeneration and to the development of spinal cord injury therapies are also addressed.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Molecular Neurobiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: New neurons generated in the adult dentate gyrus are constantly integrated into the hippocampal circuitry and activated during encoding and recall of new memories. Despite identification of extracellular signals that regulate survival and integration of adult-born neurons such as neurotrophins and neurotransmitters, the nature of the intracellular modulators required to transduce those signals remains elusive. Here, we provide evidence of the expression and transcriptional activity of nuclear factor of activated T cell c4 (NFATc4) in hippocampal progenitor cells. We show that NFATc4 calcineurin-dependent activity is required selectively for survival of adult-born neurons in response to BDNF signaling. Indeed, cyclosporin A injection and stereotaxic delivery of the BDNF scavenger TrkB-Fc in the mouse dentate gyrus reduce the survival of hippocampal adult-born neurons in wild-type but not in NFATc4(-/-) mice and do not affect the net rate of neural precursor proliferation and their fate commitment. Furthermore, associated with the reduced survival of adult-born neurons, the absence of NFATc4 leads to selective defects in LTP and in the encoding of hippocampal-dependent spatial memories. Thus, our data demonstrate that NFATc4 is essential in the regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis and identify NFATc4 as a central player of BDNF-driven prosurvival signaling in hippocampal adult-born neurons.
Full-text · Article · May 2012 · Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Axons in the central nervous system (CNS) do not regenerate while those in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) do regenerate to a limited extent after injury (Teng et al., 2006). It is recognized that transcriptional programs essential for neurite and axonal outgrowth are reactivated upon injury in the PNS (Makwana et al., 2005). However the tools available to analyze neuronal gene regulation in vivo are limited and often challenging. The dorsal root ganglia (DRG) offer an excellent injury model system because both the CNS and PNS are innervated by a bifurcated axon originating from the same soma. The ganglia represent a discrete collection of cell bodies where all transcriptional events occur, and thus provide a clearly defined region of transcriptional activity that can be easily and reproducibly removed from the animal. Injury of nerve fibers in the PNS (e.g. sciatic nerve), where axonal regeneration does occur, should reveal a set of transcriptional programs that are distinct from those responding to a similar injury in the CNS, where regeneration does not take place (e.g. spinal cord). Sites for transcription factor binding, histone and DNA modification resulting from injury to either PNS or CNS can be characterized using chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP). Here, we describe a ChIP protocol using fixed mouse DRG tissue following axonal injury. This powerful combination provides a means for characterizing the pro-regeneration chromatin environment necessary for promoting axonal regeneration.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After an acute central nervous system injury, axonal regeneration is limited as the result of a lack of neuronal intrinsic competence and the presence of extrinsic inhibitory signals. The injury fragments the myelin neuronal insulating layer, releasing extrinsic inhibitory molecules to signal through the neuronal membrane-bound Nogo receptor (NgR) complex. In this paper, we show that a neuronal transcriptional pathway can interfere with extrinsic inhibitory myelin-dependent signaling, thereby promoting neurite outgrowth. Specifically, retinoic acid (RA), acting through the RA receptor β (RAR-β), inhibited myelin-activated NgR signaling through the transcriptional repression of the NgR complex member Lingo-1. We show that suppression of Lingo-1 was required for RA-RAR-β to counteract extrinsic inhibition of neurite outgrowth. Furthermore, we confirm in vivo that RA treatment after a dorsal column overhemisection injury inhibited Lingo-1 expression, specifically through RAR-β. Our findings identify a novel link between RA-RAR-β-dependent proaxonal outgrowth and inhibitory NgR complex-dependent signaling, potentially allowing for the development of molecular strategies to enhance axonal regeneration after a central nervous system injury.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2011 · The Journal of Cell Biology