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Novel targets for modulation of plasticity in a mouse model of motoneuron degeneration.

Gulino R, Forte S, Parenti R, Gulisano M (2016) Novel targets for modulation of plasticity in a mouse model of motoneuron degeneration. Neuroscience 2016 Abstracts 812.14 / OO13. Society for Neuroscience, San Diego, CA.

Summary: A successful spinal cord repairing strategy should involve the activation of neural precursor cells. Unfortunately, their ability to generate neurons aſter injury appears limited. Another process promoting functional recovery is synaptic plasticity. We have previously studied some mechanisms of spinal plasticity by using a mouse model of motoneuron depletion induced by cholera toxin-B saporin. TDP-43 is a nuclear RNA/DNA binding protein involved in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Although considerable attention has been devoted to the toxic effects of the TDP-43 cytoplasmic aggregates, the functional role of this factor remains poorly investigated. Notably, TDP-43 is present in the dendrites where it behaves as a modulator of local RNA translation. Moreover, it is crucial for synaptic plasticity and locomotion in Drosophila. Here, we would like to deepen the investigation of this model of spinal plasticity. Aſter lesion, we observed a glial reaction and an activity-dependent modification of Synapsin-I, Shh, Noggin, Numb and TDP-43 proteins. Multivariate regression was used to model the possible association between these proteins, as well as with the motor performance. We found that Shh and Noggin could affect motor performance and that these proteins could be associated with both TDP-43 and Numb, thus suggesting that TDP-43 is likely an important regulator of synaptic plasticity. Given the well-known role of morphogens such as Shh, Noggin and Numb in neurogenesis and the above described functions of TDP-43, we believe that an in vivo manipulation of their signaling pathways after lesion could represent a putative method of improving regeneration and recovery by affecting synaptic plasticity and/or neurogenesis.

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