Characterization of inflammatory gene expression and galectin-3 function after spinal cord injury in mice.
ABSTRACT: Inflammation has long been implicated in secondary tissue damage after spinal cord injury (SCI). Our previous studies of inflammatory gene expression in rats after SCI revealed two temporally correlated clusters: the first was expressed early after injury and the second was up-regulated later, with peak expression at 1-2 weeks and persistent up-regulation through 6 months. To further address the role of inflammation after SCI, we examined inflammatory genes in a second species, mice, through 28 days after SCI. Using anchor gene clustering analysis, we found similar expression patterns for both the acute and chronic gene clusters previously identified after rat SCI. The acute group returned to normal expression levels by 7 days post injury. The chronic group, which included C1qB, p22(phox) and galectin-3, showed peak expression at 7 days and remained up-regulated through 28 days. Immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis showed that the protein expression of these genes was consistent with the mRNA expression. Further exploration of the role of one of these genes, galectin-3, suggests that galectin-3 may contribute to secondary injury. In summary, our findings extend our prior gene profiling data by demonstrating the chronic expression of a cluster of microglial associated inflammatory genes after SCI in mice. Moreover, by demonstrating that inhibition of one such factor improves recovery, the findings suggest that such chronic up-regulation of inflammatory processes may contribute to secondary tissue damage after SCI, and that there may be a broader therapeutic window for neuroprotection than generally accepted.
Project description:Spinal cord injury (SCI) induces secondary tissue damage that is associated with inflammation. We have previously demonstrated that inflammation-related gene expression after SCI occurs in two waves - an initial cluster that is acutely and transiently up-regulated within 24 hours, and a more delayed cluster that peaks between 72 hours and 7 days. Here we extend the microarray analysis of these gene clusters up to 6 months post-SCI.Adult male rats were subjected to mild, moderate or severe spinal cord contusion injury at T9 using a well-characterized weight-drop model. Tissue from the lesion epicenter was obtained 4 hours, 24 hours, 7 days, 28 days, 3 months or 6 months post-injury and processed for microarray analysis and protein expression.Anchor gene analysis using C1qB revealed a cluster of genes that showed elevated expression through 6 months post-injury, including galectin-3, p22PHOX, gp91PHOX, CD53 and progranulin. The expression of these genes occurred primarily in microglia/macrophage cells and was confirmed at the protein level using both immunohistochemistry and western blotting. As p22PHOX and gp91PHOX are components of the NADPH oxidase enzyme, enzymatic activity and its role in SCI were assessed and NADPH oxidase activity was found to be significantly up-regulated through 6 months post-injury. Further, treating rats with the nonspecific, irreversible NADPH oxidase inhibitor diphenylene iodinium (DPI) reduced both lesion volume and expression of chronic gene cluster proteins one month after trauma.These data demonstrate that inflammation-related genes are chronically up-regulated after SCI and may contribute to further tissue loss.
Project description:Injury to the spinal cord is known to result in inflammation. To date, the preponderance of research has focused on the acute neuroinflammatory response, which begins immediately and is believed to terminate within hours to (at most) days after the injury. However, recent studies have demonstrated that postinjury inflammation is not restricted to the first few hours or days after injury, but can last for months to years after a spinal cord injury (SCI). These chronic studies have revealed that increased numbers of inflammatory cells, such as microglia and macrophages, and inflammatory factors, including cytokines, chemokines, and enzyme products are found at markedly delayed times after injury. Here we review experimental work on a selection of the novel inflammatory factors observed chronically after SCI, including the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate-oxidase (NADPH) oxidase enzyme and galectin-3. We will discuss the role of these proteins in inflammation with regard to both detrimental and beneficial effects of neuroinflammation after injury. Finally, the potential of these proteins to serve as therapeutic targets will be considered, and a novel therapeutic approach (i.e., the agonist for metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 [mGluR5], [RS]-2-Chloro-5-hydroxyphenylglycine [CHPG]) will be discussed. This review will demonstrate the expression and activity profiles, roles in potentiation of injury, and therapy studies of these inflammatory factors suggest that not only are these chronically expressed factors viable targets for SCI treatment, but that the therapeutic window is broader than has previously been thought.
Project description:Traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI) has devastating implications for patients, including a high predisposition for developing chronic pain distal to the site of injury. Chronic pain develops weeks to months after injury, consequently, patients are treated after irreparable changes have occurred. Nociceptors are central to chronic pain; however, the diversity of this cellular population presents challenges to understanding mechanisms and attributing pain modalities to specific cell types. To begin to address how peripheral sensory neurons below the injury level may contribute to the below-level pain reported by SCI patients, we examined SCI-induced changes in gene expression in lumbar dorsal root ganglia (DRG) below the site of injury. SCI was performed at the T10 vertebral level, with injury produced by a vessel clip with a closing pressure of 15 g for 1 min. Alterations in gene expression produce long-term sensory changes, therefore, we were interested in studying SCI-induced transcripts before the onset of chronic pain, which may trigger changes in downstream signaling pathways and ultimately facilitate the transmission of pain. To examine changes in the nociceptor subpopulation in DRG distal to the site of injury, we retrograde labeled sensory neurons projecting to the hairy hindpaw skin with fluorescent dye and collected the corresponding lumbar (L2-L6) DRG 4 days post-injury. Following dissociation, labeled neurons were purified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). RNA was extracted from sorted sensory neurons of naïve, sham, or SCI mice and sequenced. Transcript abundances validated that the desired population of nociceptors were isolated. Cross-comparisons to data sets from similar studies confirmed, we were able to isolate our cells of interest and identify a unique pattern of gene expression within a subpopulation of neurons projecting to the hairy hindpaw skin. Differential gene expression analysis showed high expression levels and significant transcript changes 4 days post-injury in SCI cell populations relevant to the onset of chronic pain. Regulatory interrelationships predicted by pathway analysis implicated changes within the synaptogenesis signaling pathway as well as networks related to inflammatory signaling mechanisms, suggesting a role for synaptic plasticity and a correlation with pro-inflammatory signaling in the transition from acute to chronic pain.
Project description:Growing evidence suggests that oxidative stress, as associated with spinal cord injury (SCI), may play a critical role in both neuroinflammation and neuropathic pain conditions. The production of the endogenous aldehyde acrolein, following lipid peroxidation during the inflammatory response, may contribute to peripheral sensitization and hyperreflexia following SCI via the TRPA1-dependent mechanism. Here, we report that there are enhanced levels of acrolein and increased neuronal sensitivity to the aldehyde for at least 14 days after SCI. Concurrent with injury-induced increases in acrolein concentration is an increased expression of TRPA1 in the lumbar (L3-L6) sensory ganglia. As proof of the potential pronociceptive role for acrolein, intrathecal injections of acrolein revealed enhanced sensitivity to both tactile and thermal stimuli for up to 10 days, supporting the compound's pro-nociceptive functionality. Treatment of SCI animals with the acrolein scavenger hydralazine produced moderate improvement in tactile responses as well as robust changes in thermal sensitivity for up to 49 days. Taken together, these data suggest that acrolein directly modulates SCI-associated pain behavior, making it a novel therapeutic target for preclinical and clinical SCI as an analgesic. Following spinal cord injury (SCI), acrolein involvement in neuropathic pain is likely through direct activation and elevated levels of pro-nociceptive channel TRPA1. While acrolein elevation correlates with neuropathic pain, suppression of this aldehyde by hydralazine leads to an analgesic effect. Acrolein may serve as a novel therapeutic target for preclinical and clinical SCI to relieve both acute and chronic post-SCI neuropathic pain.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Central nervous system axons lack a robust regenerative response following spinal cord injury (SCI) and regeneration is usually abortive. Supraspinal pathways, which are the most commonly studied for their regenerative potential, demonstrate a limited regenerative ability. On the other hand, propriospinal (PS) neurons, with axons intrinsic to the spinal cord, have shown a greater regenerative response than their supraspinal counterparts, but remain relatively understudied in regards to spinal cord injury. RESULTS: Utilizing laser microdissection, gene-microarray, qRT-PCR, and immunohistochemistry, we focused on the intrinsic post-axotomy response of specifically labelled thoracic propriospinal neurons at periods from 3-days to 1-month following T9 spinal cord injury. We found a strong and early (3-days post injury, p.i) upregulation in the expression of genes involved in the immune/inflammatory response that returned towards normal by 1-week p.i. In addition, several regeneration associated and cell survival/neuroprotective genes were significantly up-regulated at the earliest p.i. period studied. Significant upregulation of several growth factor receptor genes (GFRa1, Ret, Lifr) also occurred only during the initial period examined. The expression of a number of pro-apoptotic genes up-regulated at 3-days p.i. suggest that changes in gene expression after this period may have resulted from analyzing surviving TPS neurons after the cell death of the remainder of the axotomized TPS neuronal population. CONCLUSIONS: Taken collectively these data demonstrate that thoracic propriospinal (TPS) neurons mount a very dynamic response following low thoracic axotomy that includes a strong regenerative response, but also results in the cell death of many axotomized TPS neurons in the first week after spinal cord injury. These data also suggest that the immune/inflammatory response may have an important role in mediating the early strong regenerative response, as well as the apoptotic response, since expression of all of three classes of gene are up-regulated only during the initial period examined, 3-days post-SCI. The up-regulation in the expression of genes for several growth factor receptors during the first week post-SCI also suggest that administration of these factors may protect TPS neurons from cell death and maintain a regenerative response, but only if given during the early period after injury.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Treatments immediately after spinal cord injury (SCI) are anticipated to decrease neuronal death, disruption of neuronal connections, demyelination, and inflammation, and to improve repair and functional recovery. Currently, little can be done to modify the acute phase, which extends to the first 48 hours post-injury. Efforts to intervene have focused on the subsequent phases - secondary (days to weeks) and chronic (months to years) - to both promote healing, prevent further damage, and support patients suffering from SCI. METHODS:We used a contusion model of SCI in female mice, and delivered a small molecule reagent during the early phase of injury. Histological and behavioral outcomes were assessed and compared. RESULTS:We find that the reagent Pifithrin-μ (PFT-μ) acts early and directly on microglia in vitro, attenuating their activation. When administered during the acute phase of SCI, PFT-μ resulted in reduced lesion size during the initial inflammatory phase, and reduced the numbers of pro-inflammatory microglia and macrophages. Treatment with PFT-μ during the early stage of injury maintained a stable anti-inflammatory environment. CONCLUSIONS:Our results indicate that a small molecule reagent PFT-μ has sustained immunomodulatory effects following a single dose after injury.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Permanent functional deficits following spinal cord injury (SCI) arise both from mechanical injury and from secondary tissue reactions involving inflammation. Enhanced release of adenosine and glutamate soon after SCI represents a component in the sequelae that may be responsible for resulting functional deficits. The role of adenosine A2A receptor in central ischemia/trauma is still to be elucidated. In our previous studies we have demonstrated that the adenosine A2A receptor-selective agonist CGS21680, systemically administered after SCI, protects from tissue damage, locomotor dysfunction and different inflammatory readouts. In this work we studied the effect of the adenosine A2A receptor antagonist SCH58261, systemically administered after SCI, on the same parameters. We investigated the hypothesis that the main action mechanism of agonists and antagonists is at peripheral or central sites. METHODS: Spinal trauma was induced by extradural compression of SC exposed via a four-level T5-T8 laminectomy in mouse. Three drug-dosing protocols were utilized: a short-term systemic administration by intraperitoneal injection, a chronic administration via osmotic minipump, and direct injection into the spinal cord. RESULTS: SCH58261, systemically administered (0.01 mg/kg intraperitoneal. 1, 6 and 10 hours after SCI), reduced demyelination and levels of TNF-α, Fas-L, PAR, Bax expression and activation of JNK mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) 24 hours after SCI. Chronic SCH58261 administration, by mini-osmotic pump delivery for 10 days, improved the neurological deficit up to 10 days after SCI. Adenosine A2A receptors are physiologically expressed in the spinal cord by astrocytes, microglia and oligodendrocytes. Soon after SCI (24 hours), these receptors showed enhanced expression in neurons. Both the A2A agonist and antagonist, administered intraperitoneally, reduced expression of the A2A receptor, ruling out the possibility that the neuroprotective effects of the A2A agonist are due to A2A receptor desensitization. When the A2A antagonist and agonist were centrally injected into injured SC, only SCH58261 appeared neuroprotective, while CGS21680 was ineffective. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that the A2A antagonist protects against SCI by acting on centrally located A2A receptors. It is likely that blockade of A2A receptors reduces excitotoxicity. In contrast, neuroprotection afforded by the A2A agonist may be primarily due to peripheral effects.
Project description:Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in massive secondary damage characterized by a prolonged inflammation with phagocytic macrophage invasion and tissue destruction. In prior work, sustained subdural infusion of anti-inflammatory compounds reduced neurological deficits and reduced pro-inflammatory cell invasion at the site of injury leading to improved outcomes. We hypothesized that implantation of a hydrogel loaded with an immune modulating biologic drug, Serp-1, for sustained delivery after crush-induced SCI would have an effective anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effect. Rats with dorsal column SCI crush injury, implanted with physical chitosan-collagen hydrogels (CCH) had severe granulomatous infiltration at the site of the dorsal column injury, which accumulated excess edema at 28 days post-surgery. More pronounced neuroprotective changes were observed with high dose (100 µg/50 µL) Serp-1 CCH implanted rats, but not with low dose (10 µg/50 µL) Serp-1 CCH. Rats treated with Serp-1 CCH implants also had improved motor function up to 20 days with recovery of neurological deficits attributed to inhibition of inflammation-associated tissue damage. In contrast, prolonged low dose Serp-1 infusion with chitosan did not improve recovery. Intralesional implantation of hydrogel for sustained delivery of the Serp-1 immune modulating biologic offers a neuroprotective treatment of acute SCI.
Project description:The transcription factor BMAL1/ARNTL is a non-redundant component of the clock pathway that regulates circadian oscillations of gene expression. Loss of BMAL1 perturbs organismal homeostasis and usually exacerbates pathological responses to many types of insults by enhancing oxidative stress and inflammation. Surprisingly, we observed improved locomotor recovery and spinal cord white matter sparing in Bmal1-/- mice after T9 contusive spinal cord injury (SCI). While acute loss of neurons and oligodendrocytes was unaffected, Bmal1 deficiency reduced the chronic loss of oligodendrocytes at the injury epicenter 6 weeks post SCI. At 3 days post-injury (dpi), decreased expression of genes associated with cell proliferation, neuroinflammation and disruption of the blood spinal cord barrier (BSCB) was also observed. Moreover, intraspinal extravasation of fibrinogen and immunoglobulins was decreased acutely at dpi 1 and subacutely at dpi 7. Subacute decrease of hemoglobin deposition was also observed. Finally, subacutely reduced levels of the leukocyte marker CD45 and even greater reduction of the pro-inflammatory macrophage receptor CD36 suggest not only lower numbers of those cells but also their reduced inflammatory potential. These data indicate that Bmal1 deficiency improves SCI outcome, in part by reducing BSCB disruption and hemorrhage decreasing cytotoxic neuroinflammation and attenuating the chronic loss of oligodendrocytes.
Project description:Acute spinal cord injury (SCI) induces secondary hemorrhage and initial blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) disruption. The transient receptor potential melastatin 4 (Trpm4) together with sulfonylurea receptor 1 (Sur1) forms the Sur1-Trpm4 channel complex. The up-regulation of Sur1-Trpm4 after injury plays a crucial role in secondary hemorrhage, which is the most destructive mechanism in secondary injuries of the central nervous system (CNS). The matrix metalloprotease (MMP)-mediated disruption of the BSCB leads to an inflammatory response, neurotoxin production and neuronal cell apoptosis. Thus, preventing secondary hemorrhage and BSCB disruption should be an important goal of therapeutic interventions in SCI. Methods: Using a moderate contusion injury model at T10 of the spinal cord, flufenamic acid (FFA) was injected intraperitoneally 1 h after SCI and then continuously once per day for one week. Results: Trpm4 expression is highly up-regulated in capillaries 1 d after SCI. Treatment with flufenamic acid (FFA) inhibited Trpm4 expression, secondary hemorrhage, and capillary fragmentation and promoted angiogenesis. In addition, FFA significantly inhibited the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 at 1 d after SCI and significantly attenuated BSCB disruption at 1 d and 3 d after injury. Furthermore, we found that FFA decreased the hemorrhage- and BSCB disruption-induced activation of microglia/macrophages and was associated with smaller lesions, decreased cavity formation, better myelin preservation and less reactive gliosis. Finally, FFA protected motor neurons and improved locomotor functions after SCI. Conclusion: This study indicates that FFA improves functional recovery, in part, due to the following reasons: (1) it inhibits the expression of Trpm4 to reduce the secondary hemorrhage; and (2) it inhibits the expression of MMP-2 and MMP-9 to block BSCB disruption. Thus, the results of our study suggest that FFA may represent a potential therapeutic agent for promoting functional recovery.