T Cell Deficiency in Spinal Cord Injury: Altered Locomotor Recovery and Whole-Genome Transcriptional Analysis
ABSTRACT: T cells undergo autoimmunization following spinal cord injury (SCI) and play both protective and destructive roles during the recovery process. T-cell deficient athymic nude (AN) rats recover better than immunocompetent Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats following spinal cord transection. In the present study, we evaluated locomotor recovery in SD and AN rats following moderate spinal cord contusion. To explain variable locomotor outcome, we assessed whole-genome expression using RNA sequencing, in the acute (1 week post-injury) and chronic (8 weeks post-injury) phases of recovery. AN rats demonstrated greater locomotor function than SD rats only at 1 week post-injury, coinciding with peak T cell infiltration in immunocompetent rats. Genetic markers for T cells and helper T cells were acutely enriched in SD rats, while AN rats expressed genes for Th2 cells, cytotoxic T cells, NK cells, mast cells, IL-1a, and IL-6 at higher levels. Acute enrichment of cell death-related genes suggested that SD rats undergo secondary tissue damage from T cells. Additionally, SD rats exhibited increased acute expression of voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channel-related genes. However, AN rats demonstrated greater chronic expression of cell death-associated genes and less expression of axon-related genes. We put forth a model in which T cells facilitate early tissue damage, demyelination, and Kv channel dysregulation in SD rats following contusion SCI. However, compensatory features of the immune response in AN rats cause delayed tissue death and limit long-term recovery. T cell inhibition combined with other neuroprotective treatment may thus be a promising therapeutic avenue. 2x2 model with 4 groups and 12 total samples. 2 rat strains (athymic nude [AN] and Sprague-Dawley [SD]) and 2 time points (1 week post-injury [acute] and 8 weeks post-injury [chronic]). 3 samples per group, for a total of 12 samples. No technical replicates were performed. Acute SD group = rats 618, 619, and 620. Chronic SD group = rats 605, 606, and 608. Acute AN group = rats 714, 715, and 717. Chronic AN group = rats 707, 712, and 713.
Project description:T cells undergo autoimmunization following spinal cord injury (SCI) and play both protective and destructive roles during the recovery process. T cell-deficient athymic nude (AN) rats exhibit improved functional recovery when compared to immunocompetent Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats following spinal cord transection.In the present study, we evaluated locomotor recovery in SD and AN rats following moderate spinal cord contusion. To explain variable locomotor outcome, we assessed whole-genome expression using RNA sequencing, in the acute (1 week post-injury) and chronic (8 weeks post-injury) phases of recovery.Athymic nude rats demonstrated greater locomotor function than SD rats only at 1 week post-injury, coinciding with peak T cell infiltration in immunocompetent rats. Genetic markers for T cells and helper T cells were acutely enriched in SD rats, while AN rats expressed genes for T(h)2 cells, cytotoxic T cells, NK cells, mast cells, IL-1a, and IL-6 at higher levels. Acute enrichment of cell death-related genes suggested that SD rats undergo secondary tissue damage from T cells. Additionally, SD rats exhibited increased acute expression of voltage-gated potassium (Kv) channel-related genes. However, AN rats demonstrated greater chronic expression of cell death-associated genes and less expression of axon-related genes. Immunostaining for macrophage markers revealed no T cell-dependent difference in the acute macrophage infiltrate.We put forth a model in which T cells facilitate early tissue damage, demyelination, and Kv channel dysregulation in SD rats following contusion SCI. However, compensatory features of the immune response in AN rats cause delayed tissue death and limit long-term recovery. T cell inhibition combined with other neuroprotective treatment may thus be a promising therapeutic avenue.
Project description:The regenerative capability of the central nervous system is limited after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) due to intrinsic and extrinsic factors that inhibit spinal cord regeneration, resulting in deficient functional recovery. It has been shown that strategies, such as pre-degenerated peripheral nerve (PPN) grafts or the use of bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) or exogenous molecules, such as chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) promote axonal growth and remyelination, resulting in an improvement in locomotor function. These treatments have been primarily assessed in acute injury models. The aim of the present study is to evaluate the ability of several single and combined treatments in order to modify the course of chronic complete SCI in rats. A complete cord transection was performed at the T9 level. One month later, animals were divided into five groups: original injury only (control group), and original injury plus spinal cord re-transection to create a gap to accommodate BMSCs, PPN, PPN + BMSCs, and PPN + BMSCs + ChABC. In comparison with control and single-treatment groups (PPN and BMSCs), combined treatment groups (PPN + BMSCs and PPN + BMSCs + ChABC) showed significative axonal regrowth, as revealed by an increase in GAP-43 and MAP-1B expression in axonal fibers, which correlated with an improvement in locomotor function. In conclusion, the combined therapies tested here improve locomotor function by enhancing axonal regeneration in rats with chronic SCI. Further studies are warranted to refine this promising line of research for clinical purposes.
Project description:Peripheral nerve injury-induced changes in gene transcription and translation in primary sensory neurons of the dorsal root ganglion (DRG) are considered to contribute to neuropathic pain genesis. Transcription factors control gene expression. Peripheral nerve injury increases the expression of myeloid zinc finger protein 1 (MZF1), a transcription factor, and promotes its binding to the voltage-gated potassium 1.2 (Kv1.2) antisense (AS) RNA gene in the injured DRG. However, whether DRG MZF1 participates in neuropathic pain is still unknown. Here, we report that blocking the nerve injury-induced increase of DRG MZF1 through microinjection of MZF1 siRNA into the injured DRG attenuated the initiation and maintenance of mechanical, cold, and thermal pain hypersensitivities in rats with chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve, without affecting locomotor functions and basal responses to acute mechanical, heat, and cold stimuli. Mimicking the nerve injury-induced increase of DRG MZF1 through microinjection of recombinant adeno-associated virus 5 expressing full-length MZF1 into the DRG produced significant mechanical, cold, and thermal pain hypersensitivities in naive rats. Mechanistically, MZF1 participated in CCI-induced reductions in Kv1.2 mRNA and protein and total Kv current and the CCI-induced increase in neuronal excitability through MZF1-triggered Kv1.2 AS RNA expression in the injured DRG neurons. MZF1 is likely an endogenous trigger of neuropathic pain and might serve as a potential target for preventing and treating this disorder.
Project description:Axonal growth and neurological recovery after traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) is limited by the presence of inhibitory proteins in myelin, several of which act via the NgR1 protein in neurons. A truncated soluble ligand-binding fragment of NgR1 serves as a decoy and promotes recovery in acute and chronic rodent SCI models. To develop the translational potential of these observations, we created a human sequence-derived NgR1(310)-Fc protein. This protein is active in vitro. When the human NgR1 decoy is administered by continuous intracerebroventricular infusion to rats with a spinal contusion injury at doses of 0.09-0.53 mg/kg/d, neurological recovery is improved. Effective doses double the percentage of rats able to bear weight on their hindlimbs. Next, we considered the half-life and distribution of NgR1(310)-Fc after bolus delivery to the lumbar intrathecal space. The protein is found throughout the neuraxis and has a tissue half-life of approximately 2 days in the rat, and 5 days in the nonhuman primate. At an intermittent, once every 4 day, lumbar bolus dosing schedule of 0.14 mg/kg/d, NgR1(310)-Fc promoted locomotor rat recovery from spinal cord contusion at least as effectively as continuous infusion in open field and grid walking tasks. Moreover, the intermittent lumbar NgR1(310)-Fc treatment increased the growth of raphespinal axons into the lumbar spinal cord after injury. Thus, human NgR1(310)-Fc provides effective treatment for recovery from traumatic SCI in this preclinical model with a simplified administration regimen that facilitates clinical testing.
Project description:17?-Estradiol is a multi-active steroid that imparts neuroprotection via diverse mechanisms of action. However, its role as a neuroprotective agent after spinal cord injury (SCI), or the involvement of the estrogen receptor-alpha (ER-?) in locomotor recovery, is still a subject of much debate. In this study, we evaluated the effects of estradiol and of Tamoxifen (an estrogen receptor mixed agonist/antagonist) on locomotor recovery following SCI. To control estradiol cyclical variability, ovariectomized female rats received empty or estradiol filled implants, prior to a moderate contusion to the spinal cord. Estradiol improved locomotor function at 7, 14, 21, and 28 days post injury (DPI), when compared to control groups (measured with the BBB open field test). This effect was ER-? mediated, because functional recovery was blocked with an ER-? antagonist. We also observed that ER-? was up-regulated after SCI. Long-term treatment (28 DPI) with estradiol and Tamoxifen reduced the extent of the lesion cavity, an effect also mediated by ER-?. The antioxidant effects of estradiol were seen acutely at 2 DPI but not at 28 DPI, and this acute effect was not receptor mediated. Rats treated with Tamoxifen recovered some locomotor activity at 21 and 28 DPI, which could be related to the antioxidant protection seen at these time points. These results show that estradiol improves functional outcome, and these protective effects are mediated by the ER-? dependent and independent-mechanisms. Tamoxifen?s effects during late stages of SCI support the use of this drug as a long-term alternative treatment for this condition.
Project description:Most studies targeting chronic spinal cord injury (SCI) have concluded that neural stem/progenitor cell (NS/PC) transplantation exerts only a subclinical recovery; this in contrast to its remarkable effect on acute and subacute SCI. To determine whether the addition of rehabilitative intervention enhances the effect of NS/PC transplantation for chronic SCI, we used thoracic SCI mouse models to compare manifestations secondary to both transplantation and treadmill training, and the two therapies combined, with a control group. Significant locomotor recovery in comparison with the control group was only achieved in the combined therapy group. Further investigation revealed that NS/PC transplantation improved spinal conductivity and central pattern generator activity, and that treadmill training promoted the appropriate inhibitory motor control. The combined therapy enhanced these independent effects of each single therapy, and facilitated neuronal differentiation of transplanted cells and maturation of central pattern generator activity synergistically. Our data suggest that rehabilitative treatment represents a therapeutic option for locomotor recovery after NS/PC transplantation, even in chronic SCI.
Project description:A vendor informed us that rats shipped to us and used by us in a spinal cord contusion injury experiment were infected by rat parvovirus type 1a (RPV-1a). Our aim was therefore to determine whether this infection may have altered locomotor recovery or tissue pathology.Stockholm, Sweden.We induced a moderate contusion injury of the spinal cord in rats received from an (unknown to us) RPV-1a-contaminated facility. We compared the hind limb locomotor function between RPV-1a-infected rats and non-infected controls with the same spinal cord lesions, obtained before (historical control), as well as after infection (future controls). Histologically, we assessed spinal tissue sparing, astrocyte reactivity and the amount of macrophages/activated microglia.RPV-1a-infected rats had significantly better hind limb locomotor recovery compared with both 'historical' and 'future' controls. We also observed significantly better tissue sparing and axonal sparing around the injury site, as well as significant reductions in macrophages/activated microglia and astrocyte reactivity in the spinal cords of RPV-1a-infected rats.The results stress the importance of knowing the health status of animals used to study central nervous system trauma and support the notion that acquired infections, even if asymptomatic, may alter response to injury in mammals. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that virus infections may have positive effects on functional recovery after spinal cord injury and indicate that RPV-1a infection may be neuroprotective by dampening secondary damage.
Project description:Blocking the action of inhibitory molecules at sites of central nervous system injury has been proposed as a strategy to promote axonal regeneration and functional recovery. We have previously shown that genetic deletion or competitive antagonism of EphA4 receptor activity promotes axonal regeneration and functional recovery in a mouse model of lateral hemisection spinal cord injury. Here we have assessed the effect of blocking EphA4 activation using the competitive antagonist EphA4-Fc in a rat model of thoracic contusive spinal cord injury. Using a ledged tapered balance beam and open-field testing, we observed significant improvements in recovery of locomotor function after EphA4-Fc treatment. Consistent with functional improvement, using high-resolution ex vivo magnetic resonance imaging at 16.4T, we found that rats treated with EphA4-Fc had a significantly increased cross-sectional area of the dorsal funiculus caudal to the injury epicenter compared with controls. Our findings indicate that EphA4-Fc promotes functional recovery following contusive spinal cord injury and provides further support for the therapeutic benefit of treatment with the competitive antagonist in acute cases of spinal cord injury.
Project description:This is a randomized controlled prospective trial with two parallel groups.The objective of this study was to determine whether early application of tail nerve electrical stimulation (TANES)-induced walking training can improve the locomotor function.This study was conducted in SCS Research Center in Colorado, USA.A contusion injury to spinal cord T10 was produced using the New York University impactor device with a 25?-mm height setting in female, adult Long-Evans rats. Injured rats were randomly divided into two groups (n=12 per group). One group was subjected to TANES-induced walking training 2 weeks post injury, and the other group, as control, received no TANES-induced walking training. Restorations of behavior and conduction were assessed using the Basso, Beattie and Bresnahan open-field rating scale, horizontal ladder rung walking test and electrophysiological test (Hoffmann reflex).Early application of TANES-induced walking training significantly improved the recovery of locomotor function and benefited the restoration of Hoffmann reflex.TANES-induced walking training is a useful method to promote locomotor recovery in rats with spinal cord injury.
Project description:We describe here a novel forelimb locomotor assessment scale (FLAS) that assesses forelimb use during locomotion in rats injured at the cervical level. A quantitative scale was developed that measures movements of shoulder, elbow, and wrist joints, forepaw position and digit placement, forelimb-hindlimb coordination, compensatory behaviors adopted while walking, and balance. Female Sprague-Dawley rats received graded cervical contusions ranging from 200 to 230 ("mild," n=11) and 250-290 kdyn ("moderate," n=13) between C5 and C8. Rats were videotaped post-injury as they walked along an alley to determine deficits and recovery of forelimb function. Recovery of shoulder and elbow joint movement occurred rapidly (within 1-7 days post-injury), whereas recovery of wrist joint movement was slower and more variable. Most rats in all groups displayed persistent deficits in forepaw and digit movement, but developed compensatory behaviors to allow functional forward locomotion within 1-2 weeks post-injury. Recovery of forelimb function as measured by the FLAS reached a plateau by 3 weeks post-injury in all groups. Rats with mild contusions displayed greater locomotor recovery than rats with moderate contusions, but exhibited persistent deficits compared to sham controls. Reliability was tested by having seven raters (three internal, four external) from different laboratories, independently and blindly score videos of all rats. The multivariate correlation between all raters, all animals, and all time points ranged from r(2)=0.88-0.96 (p<0.0001), indicating a high inter-rater reliability. Thus, the FLAS is a simple, inexpensive, sensitive, and reliable measure of forelimb function during locomotion following cervical SCI.