Pigment Epithelium-Derived Factor Promotes Axon Regeneration and Functional Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury

AR Stevens, etc
Molecular Neurobiology, 2019

Although neurons in the adult mammalian CNS are inherently incapable of regeneration after injury, we previously showed that exogenous delivery of pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a 50-kDa neurotrophic factor (NTF), promoted adult retinal ganglion cell neuroprotection and axon regeneration. Here, we show that PEDF and other elements of the PEDF pathway are highly upregulated in dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGN) from regenerating dorsal column (DC) injury paradigms when compared with non-regenerating DC injury models. Exogenous PEDF was neuroprotective to adult DRGN and disinhibited neurite outgrowth, whilst overexpression of PEDF after DC injury in vivo promoted significant DC axon regeneration with enhanced electrophysiological, sensory, and locomotor function. Our findings reveal that PEDF is a novel NTF for adult DRGN and may represent a therapeutically useful factor to promote functional recovery after spinal cord injury.

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Molecular Neurobiology
doi: 10.1007/s12035-019-1614-2
University of Birmingham