Activating Neuron-Intrinsic Growth Pathways to Promote Spinal Cord Regeneration After Dorsal Root Injury
|Manire, Meredith Ann
|Primary sensory axons fail to regenerate into the spinal cord following dorsal root injury leading to permanent sensory deficits. Re-entry is prevented at the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ), the CNS-PNS interface. Current approaches for promoting DR regeneration across the DREZ have had some success, but sustained, long-distance regeneration, particularly of large-diameter myelinated axons, still remains a formidable challenge. Our lab has previously shown that induced expression of constitutively active B-RAF (kaBRAF) enhanced the regenerative competence of injured DRG neurons in adult mice. In this study, I investigated whether robust intraspinal regeneration can be achieved by selective expression of kaBRAF alone or in combination with deletion of the myelin-associated inhibitors or neuron-intrinsic growth suppressors (PTEN or SOCS3). To this end, I used LSL-kaBRAF: brn3a-CreERT2 transgenic mice in which kaBRAF can be induced selectively in sensory neurons. I have also bred LSL-kaBRAF: brn3a-CreERT2 mice with triple knock-out mice lacking Nogo, Mag and OMgp or mouse lines carrying floxed alleles of PTEN or SOCS3. Single, double, and triple conditional mice were subjected to cervical DR crush and AAV2-eGFP vectors were used to selectively label regenerating axons of large-diameter neurons. I compared the extent of regeneration at 3 weeks or 2 months after DR injury using conventional anatomical and behavioral analyses. I found that kaBRAF alone promoted axon regeneration across the DREZ but did not produce significant functional recovery by two months. Supplementary deletion of Nogo, MAG, and OMgp did not improve kaBRAF-induced regeneration. Deletion of PTEN or SOCS3 individually or in combination failed to promote axon regeneration across the DREZ. In marked contrast, simultaneous deletion of PTEN, but not SOCS3, dramatically enhanced kaBRAF-mediated regeneration enabling many more axons to penetrate the DREZ and grow deep into the spinal cord. This study shows that dual activation of BRAF-MEK-ERK and PI3K-Akt signaling is an effective strategy to stimulate robust intraspinal DR regeneration and may lead to recovery of sensory function after DR injury.
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|Theses and Dissertations
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|Dorsal Root Injury
|Activating Neuron-Intrinsic Growth Pathways to Promote Spinal Cord Regeneration After Dorsal Root Injury
|Selzer, Michael E.
|Smith, George M.
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