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Neural plasticity in injured spinal cord.

Gulisano M, Parenti R, Gulino R (2012) Neural plasticity in injured spinal cord. Neuroscience 2012 Abstracts 846.09. Society for Neuroscience, New Orleans, LA.

Summary: Sonic hedgehog and Noggin are morphogenetic factors involved in neural induction and ventralization of the neural tube, but recent findings suggest that they could participate in regeneration and functional recovery after injury. Here, in order to verify if these mechanisms could occur in the spinal cord and involve synaptic plasticity, we measured the expression levels of Sonic hedgehog, Noggin, Choline acetyltransferase, Synapsin-I, and Glutamate receptor subunits (GluR1, GluR2, GluR4), in a motoneuron-depleted mouse spinal lesion model obtained by intramuscular injection of Cholera toxin-B saporin. The lesion caused differential expression changes of the analyzed proteins. Moreover, motor performance was found correlated with Sonic hedgehog and Noggin expression in lesioned animals. The results also suggest that Sonic hedgehog could collaborate in modulating synaptic plasticity. Together, these findings confirm that the injured mammalian spinal cord has intrinsic potential for repair and that some proteins classically involved in development, such as Sonic hedgehog and Noggin could have important roles in regeneration and functional restoration, by mechanisms including synaptic plasticity.

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