Send to

Choose Destination
J Neurosci. 2004 May 12;24(19):4605-13.

Traumatic axonal injury induces proteolytic cleavage of the voltage-gated sodium channels modulated by tetrodotoxin and protease inhibitors.

Author information

Department of Neurosurgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6316, USA.


We demonstrated previously that dynamic stretch injury of cultured axons induces structural changes and Ca2+ influx modulated by tetrodotoxin (TTX)-sensitive voltage-gated sodium channels (NaChs). In the present study, we evaluated potential damage to the NaCh alpha-subunit, which can cause noninactivation of NaChs. In addition, we explored the effects of pre-injury and post-injury treatment with TTX and protease inhibition on proteolysis of the NaCh alpha-subunit and intra-axonal calcium levels ([Ca2+]i) over 60 min after trauma. After stretch injury, we found that [Ca2+]i continued to increase in untreated axons for at least 60 min. We also observed that the III-IV intra-axonal loop of the NaCh alpha-subunit was proteolyzed between 5 and 20 min after trauma. Pre-injury treatment of the axons with TTX completely abolished the posttraumatic increase in [Ca2+]i and proteolysis of the NaCh alpha-subunit. In addition, both pre-injury and post-injury inhibition of protease activity attenuated long-term increases in [Ca2+]i as well as mitigating degradation of the NaCh alpha-subunit. These results suggest a unique "feed-forward" deleterious process initiated by mechanical trauma of axons. Na+ influx through NaChs resulting from axonal deformation triggers initial increases in [Ca2+]i and subsequent proteolysis of the NaCh-subunit. In turn, degradation of the alpha-subunit promotes persistent elevations in [Ca2+]i, fueling additional pathologic changes. These observations may have important implications for developing therapeutic strategies for axonal trauma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for HighWire
Loading ...
Support Center