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Exp Neurol. 1999 Mar;156(1):218-22.

Induction of Eph B3 after spinal cord injury.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Miami School of Medicine, 1600 Northwest 10th Avenue, R-48, Miami, Florida 33136, USA.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) in adult rats initiates a cascade of events producing a nonpermissive environment for axonal regeneration. This nonfavorable environment could be due to the expression of repulsive factors. The Eph receptor protein tyrosine kinases and their respective ligands (ephrins) are families of molecules that play a major role in axonal pathfinding and target recognition during central nervous system (CNS) development. Their mechanism of action is mediated by repellent forces between receptor and ligand. The possible role that these molecules play after CNS trauma is unknown. We hypothesized that an increase in the expression of Eph proteins and/or ephrins may be one of the molecular cues that restrict axonal regeneration after SCI. Rats received a contusive SCI at T10 and in situ hybridization studies 7 days posttrauma demonstrated: (i) a marked up-regulation of Eph B3 mRNA in cells located in the white matter at the lesion epicenter, but not rostral or caudal to the injury site, and (ii) an increase in Eph B3 mRNA in neurons in the ventral horn and intermediate zone of the gray matter, rostral and caudal to the lesion. Immunohistochemical analyses localizing Eph B3 protein were consistent with the mRNA results. Colocalization studies performed in injured animals demonstrated increased Eph B3 expression in white matter astrocytes and motor neurons of the gray matter. These results suggest that Eph B3 may contribute to the unfavorable environment for axonal regeneration after SCI.

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