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Transection of the Adult Rat Spinal Cord Upregulates EphB3 Receptor and Ligand Expression

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Eph receptors and ligands represent two families of proteins that control axonal guidance during development. Recent work has shown that several Eph receptors are expressed postnatally. Because the Eph molecules represent a class of axon guidance molecules that are mainly inhibitory to axonal growth, we investigated whether EphB3 expression was upregulated in both spinal cord and four supraspinal nuclei (locus coeruleus, vestibular, raphe pallidus, and red) 1 week after a complete spinal cord thoracic transection. Injured rats had a significant increase in EphB3 mRNA and protein expression in the spinal cord. The increased EphB3 expression was colocalized with GFAP staining and indicated that astrocytes play a role in EphB3 expression after spinal cord injury. No change in EphB3 expression was seen in supraspinal brain nuclei, which further demonstrated that changes in expression were due to changes in the local microenvironment at the injury site. The expression of EphB3 was colocalized to regions of the CNS that had a high level of EphB3 binding ligands. These data indicate upregulation of EphB3 expression after injury may also contribute to an environment in the spinal cord that is inhibitory to axonal regeneration.

Keywords: Axon guidance; Immunohistochemistry; In situ hybridization; Receptor protein tyrosine kinases

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: *Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40202 2: ┬žDepartment of Physiology, University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, San Juan, PR 00936

Publication date: January 1, 2003

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