Early cellular signaling responses to axonal injury

Thomas J. Lukas*, Ai Ling Wang, Ming Yuan, Arthur H. Neufeld

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: We have used optic nerve injury as a model to study early signaling events in neuronal tissue following axonal injury. Optic nerve injury results in the selective death of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). The time course of cell death takes place over a period of days with the earliest detection of RGC death at about 48 hr post injury. We hypothesized that in the period immediately following axonal injury, there are changes in the soma that signal surrounding glia and neurons and that start programmed cell death. In the current study, we investigated early changes in cellular signaling and gene expression that occur within the first 6 hrs post optic nerve injury. Results: We found evidence of cell to cell signaling within 30 min of axonal injury. We detected differences in phosphoproteins and gene expression within the 6 hrs time period. Activation of TNFα and glutamate receptors, two pathways that can initiate cell death, begins in RGCs within 6 hrs following axonal injury. Differential gene expression at 6 hrs post injury included genes involved in cytokine, neurotrophic factor signaling (Socs3) and apoptosis (Bax). Conclusion: We interpret our studies to indicate that both neurons and glia in the retina have been signaled within 30 min after optic nerve injury. The signals are probably initiated by the RGC soma. In addition, signals activating cellular death pathways occur within 6 hrs of injury, which likely lead to RGC degeneration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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