Literature context: r, SMI312; 1:1000, RRID:AB_2314902), rabbit anti-NF200 (Sigma-Aldr
Following nerve injury, denervated Schwann cells (SCs) convert to repair SCs, which enable regeneration of peripheral axons. However, the repair capacity of SCs and the regenerative capacity of peripheral axons are limited. In the present studies we examined a potential therapeutic strategy to enhance the repair capacity of SCs, and tested its efficacy in enhancing regeneration of dorsal root (DR) axons, whose regenerative capacity is particularly weak. We used male and female mice of a doxycycline-inducible transgenic line to induce expression of constitutively active ErbB2 (caErbB2) selectively in SCs after DR crush or transection. Two weeks after injury, injured DRs of induced animals contained far more SCs and SC processes. These SCs had not redifferentiated and continued to proliferate. Injured DRs of induced animals also contained far more axons that regrew along SC processes past the transection or crush site. Remarkably, SCs and axons in uninjured DRs remained quiescent, indicating that caErbB2 enhanced regeneration of injured DRs, without aberrantly activating SCs and axons in intact nerves. We also found that intraspinally expressed glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), but not the removal of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, greatly enhanced the intraspinal migration of caErbB2-expressing SCs, enabling robust penetration of DR axons into the spinal cord. These findings indicate that SC-selective, post-injury activation of ErbB2 provides a novel strategy to powerfully enhance the repair capacity of SCs and axon regeneration, without substantial off-target damage. They also highlight that promoting directed migration of caErbB2-expressing SCs by GDNF might be useful to enable axon regrowth in a non-permissive environment.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Repair of injured peripheral nerves remains a critical clinical problem. We currently lack a therapy that potently enhances axon regeneration in patients with traumatic nerve injury. It is extremely challenging to substantially increase the regenerative capacity of damaged nerves without deleterious off-target effects. It was therefore of great interest to discover that caErbB2 markedly enhances regeneration of damaged dorsal roots, while evoking little change in intact roots. To our knowledge, these findings are the first demonstration that repair capacity of denervated SCs can be efficaciously enhanced without altering innervated SCs. Our study also demonstrates that oncogenic ErbB2 signaling can be activated in SCs but not impede transdifferentiation of denervated SCs to regeneration-promoting repair SCs.
The major brain abnormality underlying cerebral palsy in premature infants is periventricular leukomalacia (PVL), a lesion of the immature cerebral white matter. Oligodendrocyte precursors (pre-OLs; O4(+)O1(-)) predominate in human cerebral white matter during the peak time frame for PVL (24-32 gestational weeks) and are vulnerable to excitotoxicity. We hypothesize that PVL reflects, in part, excitotoxicity to pre-OLs resulting from cerebral ischemia/reperfusion. Reversal of glutamate transport in the setting of energy failure is a major source of pathologic accumulation of extracellular glutamate. Here, we identify and localize the glutamate transporters in human cerebral white matter during the age range of PVL. In situ hybridization was performed with digoxigenin-labeled probes directed against the full-length coding regions of EAAT1, EAAT2, and EAAT3. EAAT2 mRNA was abundant in human fetal white matter during the period of peak incidence of PVL and virtually disappeared by 2 postnatal months. Its developmental profile differed significantly from that of both EAAT1 and EAAT3 mRNA. Immunoblotting demonstrated that EAAT2 protein was highly expressed in early development relative to adult values. Double-label immunocytochemistry detected EAAT2 in OLs but not astrocytes or axons in the human fetal white matter. We conclude that transient expression of EAAT2 occurs during the window of peak vulnerability for PVL, suggesting that this developmentally up-regulated transporter may be a major source of extracellular glutamate in ischemic injury to the cerebral white matter of the preterm infant.
Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is a substance derived from the metabolism of GABA and is heterogeneously distributed in various regions of the brain. This compound possesses a neuromodulatory role on several types of synapses, particularly those using GABA as a neurotransmitter. At physiological concentrations, this effect of GHB is mediated via specific receptors that induce neuronal hyperpolarization and bind radioactive GHB with a specific distribution, ontogenesis, kinetics, and pharmacology. A membrane protein that possesses six to seven transmembrane domains and which binds and is activated by micromolar amounts of GHB was recently cloned from rat brain hippocampus. In order to study the regional and cellular distribution of this receptor in rat brain, we selected several specific peptides belonging to the extracellular domains of the receptor to be used as specific immunogens to raise polyclonal antibodies in the rabbit. Among the antisera obtained, one of them gave particularly good results in terms of specificity and reactivity at high dilution. Immunohistochemical analyses, both at the confocal and electron microscopic level, showed receptor protein distribution closely resembling the distribution of GHB high-affinity binding sites, except for cerebellum, where GHB receptor(s) of lower affinity exist(s). In all regions studied the GHB receptor-like protein labeling appears to be distributed specifically in neurons and not in glial cells. At the cellular level the antibody specifically labels dendrites, and no immunoreactivity was detected in presynaptic endings or in axons. Accordingly, electron microscopy reveals strong labeling of postsynaptic densities and of neuronal cytosol.