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    Following spinal cord injury (SCI), astrocytes demonstrate long-lasting reactive changes, which are associated with the persistence of neuropathic pain and motor dysfunction. We previously demonstrated that upregulation of trkB.T1, a truncated isoform of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor receptor (BDNF), contributes to gliosis after SCI, but little is known about the effects of trkB.T1 on the function of astrocytes. As trkB.T1 is the sole isoform of trkB receptors expressed on astrocytes, we examined the function of trkB.T1-driven astrocytes in vitro and in vivo Immunohistochemistry showed that trkB.T1+ cells were significantly upregulated 7 d after injury, with sustained elevation in white matter through 8 weeks. The latter increase was predominantly found in astrocytes. TrkB.T1 was also highly expressed by neurons and microglia/macrophages at 7 d after injury and declined by 8 weeks. RNA sequencing of cultured astrocytes derived from trkB.T1+/+ (WT) and trkB.T1-/- (KO) mice revealed downregulation of migration and proliferation pathways in KO astrocytes. KO astrocytes also exhibited slower migration/proliferation in vitro in response to FBS or BDNF compared with WT astrocytes. Reduced proliferation of astrocytes was also confirmed after SCI in astrocyte-specific trkB.T1 KO mice; using mechanical allodynia and pain-related measurements on the CatWalk, these animals also showed reduced hyperpathic responses, along with improved motor coordination. Together, our data indicate that trkB.T1 in astrocytes contributes to neuropathic pain and neurological dysfunction following SCI, suggesting that trkB.T1 may provide a novel therapeutic target for SCI.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Neuropathic pain after spinal cord injury (SCI) may in part be caused by upregulation of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptor trkB.T1, a truncated isoform of BDNF. TrkB.T1 is the only isoform of tropomyosin-related receptor kinase type B (trkB) receptors expressed on astrocytes. Here, we showed that trkB.T1 is significantly increased in the injured mouse spinal cord, where it is predominantly found in astrocytes. RNA sequencing of cultured astrocytes demonstrated downregulation of migration and proliferation pathways in trkB.T1 KO astrocytes. This was validated in vivo, where deletion of trkB.T1 in astrocytes reduced cell proliferation and migration. After SCI, astrocyte-specific trkB.T1 KO mice showed reduced hyperpathic responses and improved motor coordination. Therefore, the trkB.T1 receptor plays a significant pathophysiological role after SCI, and may provide a novel therapeutic target for SCI. Copyright © 2017 the authors 0270-6474/17/373957-16$15.00/0.


    Jessica J Matyas, Cliona M O'Driscoll, Laina Yu, Marina Coll-Miro, Sean Daugherty, Cynthia L Renn, Alan I Faden, Susan G Dorsey, Junfang Wu. Truncated TrkB.T1-Mediated Astrocyte Dysfunction Contributes to Impaired Motor Function and Neuropathic Pain after Spinal Cord Injury. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2017 Apr 05;37(14):3956-3971

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    PMID: 28270575

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