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J Neurotrauma. 2001 Nov;18(11):1279-87.

Expression of leukemia inhibitory factor in human nerve following injury.

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Bernard O'Brien Institute of Microsurgery, St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.


In animal models of peripheral nerve injury, leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) is normally expressed at very low levels. Following nerve injury, its expression is rapidly increased in the nerve at the injury site and promotes both sensory and motor neuron survival. Once normal nerve function is restored, LIF expression returns to negligible levels. For this reason, LIF is considered to be a peripheral nerve trauma factor. We wished to determine whether LIF is also upregulated in human nerves following trauma and whether it is expressed in neuromas of varying age. Immunohistochemical staining for the presence of LIF was performed on injured and control human nerves from a number of subjects. Results demonstrate that LIF expression is increased in nerves within hours of injury and, in the case of neuroma formation, can persist for several years. LIF immunoreactivity was consistently found in Schwann cells, in peripheral nerve axons, and, at stages when an inflammatory response was present, also in neutrophils, mast cells, macrophages, and blood vessel walls. The level of staining within the connective tissue of injured nerves was elevated compared to control nerves, which may be due to the presence of LIF bound to the soluble secreted form of the LIF receptor. Whether the continued expression of LIF is unhealed injured nerves promotes the development of neuromas remains to be resolved.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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