BMP4/Smad1 Signalling Promotes Spinal Dorsal Column Axon Regeneration and Functional Recovery After Injury

F Farrukh, etc
Molecular Neurobiology, 2019

Signalling through the BMP4/Smad1 pathway promotes corticospinal tract axon regeneration and functional recovery in mice. However, unlike humans and rats, mice do not cavitate. Here, we investigated if activation of the BMP4/Smad1 pathway promotes axon regeneration and functional recovery in a rat model that cavitates. We show that dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGN) in injury models, including the non-regenerating dorsal column (DC) and the regenerating sciatic nerve (SN) crush and preconditioning (p) SN¿+¿DC (pSN¿+¿DC) paradigms, regulate the BMP4/Smad1 signalling pathway. For example, mRNA expression of positive regulators of the BMP4/Smad1 pathway was highly up-regulated whilst negative regulators were significantly down-regulated in DRGN in the regenerating SN and pSN¿+¿DC models compared to non-regenerating DC models, matched by concomitant changes in protein expression detected in DRGN by immunohistochemistry. BMP4 peptide promoted significant DRGN survival and disinhibited neurite outgrowth in vitro, whilst AAV-BMP4 delivery in vivo stimulated DC axon regeneration and functional recovery in a model that cavitates. Our results show that activation of the BMP4/Smad1 pathway is a potential therapeutic target in the search for axon regenerative signalling pathways in the CNS.

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Molecular Neurobiology
doi: 10.1007/s12035-019-1555-9
University of Birmingham