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J Neurosci Res. 2008 Nov 15;86(15):3348-58. doi: 10.1002/jnr.21776.

Fibroblast growth factor-2 mRNA expression in the brainstem and spinal cord of normal and chronic spinally transected urodeles.

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INSERM U 862, Neurocentre Magendie, Pathophysiology of Spinal Networks, Bordeaux, France.


Descending pathways in the spinal cord of adult urodele amphibians show a high regenerative ability after body spinal cord transection; regenerated axons regrow into the transected spinal cord, and hindlimb locomotor recovery occurs spontaneously. Little is currently known about the molecular basis of spinal cord regeneration in urodeles, but it is believed that fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF2) may play an important role by inducing proliferation of neural progenitor cells. The aim of our study, using in situ hybridization in adult Pleurodeles waltlii, was twofold: 1) to document FGF2 mRNA expression pattern along the brainstem-spinal cord of intact salamanders and 2) to investigate the changes in this pattern in animals unable to display hindlimb locomotor movements and in animals having fully recovered hindlimb locomotor activity after body spinal cord transection. This design establishes a firm basis for further studies on the role of FGF2 in functional recovery of hindlimb locomotion. Our results revealed a decreasing rostrocaudal gradient in FGF2 mRNA expression along the brainstem-spinal cord in intact animals. They further demonstrated a long-lasting up-regulation of FGF2 mRNA expression in response to spinal transection at the midtrunk level, both in brainstem and in the spinal cord below the injury. Finally, double immunolabeling showed that FGF2 was up-regulated in neuroglial, presumably undifferentiated, cells. Therefore, we propose that FGF2 may be involved in cell proliferation and/or neuronal differentiation after body spinal cord transection in salamander and could thus play an important role in functional recovery of locomotion after spinal lesion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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