Enhancing adult nerve regeneration through the knockdown of retinoblastoma protein

KJ Christie, etc
Nature Communications, 2014

Tumour suppressor pathways may offer novel targets capable of altering the plasticity of post-mitotic adult neurons. Here we describe a role for the retinoblastoma (Rb) protein, widely expressed in adult sensory neurons and their axons, during regeneration. In adult sensory neurons, Rb short interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown or Rb1 deletion in vitro enhances neurite outgrowth and branching. Plasticity is achieved in part through upregulation of neuronal PPAR¿; its antagonism inhibits Rb siRNA plasticity, whereas a PPAR¿ agonist increases growth. In an in vivo regenerative paradigm following complete peripheral nerve trunk transection, direct delivery of Rb siRNA prompts increased outgrowth of axons from proximal stumps and entrains Schwann cells to accompany them for greater distances. Similarly, Rb siRNA delivery following a nerve crush improves behavioural indices of motor and sensory recovery in mice. The overall findings indicate that inhibition of tumour suppressor molecules has a role to play in promoting adult neuron regeneration.

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Nature Communications
U Calgary