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Neuroscience. 1999;91(4):1401-13.

Regulation of ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha in sciatic motor neurons following axotomy.

Author information

1
Department of Neuroscience, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville 32610-0244, USA.

Abstract

Spinal motor neurons are one of the few classes of neurons capable of regenerating axons following axotomy. Injury-induced expression of neurotrophic factors and corresponding receptors may play an important role in this rare ability. A wide variety of indirect data suggests that ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha may critically contribute to the regeneration of injured spinal motor neurons. We used immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and retrograde tracing techniques to study the regulation of ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha in axotomized sciatic motor neurons. Ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha immunoreactivity, detected with two independent antisera, is increased in a subpopulation of caudal sciatic motor neuron soma one, two and six weeks after sciatic nerve transection and reattachment, while no changes are detected at one day and 15 weeks post-lesion. Ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha messenger RNA levels are augmented in the same classes of neurons following an identical lesion, suggesting that increased synthesis contributes, at least in part, to the additional ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha protein. Separating the proximal and distal nerve stumps with a plastic barrier does not noticeably affect the injury-induced change in ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha regulation, thereby indicating that this injury response is not dependent on signals distal to the lesion traveling retrogradely through the nerve or signals generated by axonal growth through the distal nerve. The prolonged increases in ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha protein and messenger RNA found in regenerating sciatic motor neurons contrast with the responses of non-regenerating central neurons, which are reported to display, at most, a short-lived increase in ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha messenger RNA expression following injury. The present data are the first to demonstrate, in vivo, neuronal regulation of ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha protein in response to injury. Moreover, they suggest that the ability of a subpopulation of spinal motor neurons to regulate ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha levels in response to injury may play a role in their survival and axonal regeneration. Consistent with such a role, we also find relatively high, and probably elevated, levels of ciliary neurotrophic factor receptor alpha immunoreactivity in regenerating axons.

PMID:
10391446
DOI:
10.1016/s0306-4522(98)00717-9
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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