cAMP and oxidative mechanisms of plasmalemmal sealing and the effects on rapid and long lasting repair of severed axons in vivo by polyethylene Glycol
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Traumatic neuronal injury inevitably causes plasmalemmal damage, and sometimes leads to axonal severance. For any eukaryotic cell to survive following traumatic injury, the plasmalemma must be repaired (sealed). Plasmalemmal sealing occurs via a Ca²⁺-dependent accumulation of vesicles or other membranous structures that form a plug at the damage site. Using uniquely identified and damaged rat hippocampal B104 cells that extend neurites with axonal properties, or rat sciatic nerves, plasmalemmal sealing is assessed by exclusion of an extracellular dye from each damaged B104 cell, or sciatic nerves ex vivo. B104 cells with neurites transected nearer (<50 [micrometres]) to the soma seal at a lower frequency and slower rate compared to cells with neurites transected farther (>50 [micrometres]) from the soma. Sealing in B104 cells is enhanced by 1) increased [cAMP], 2) increased PKA activity, 3) increased Epac activity, 4) H₂O₂ and 5) Poly-ethylene glycol (PEG). Sealing is decreased by 1) PKA inhibition, 2), Botulinum toxins A, B, E, 3) Tetanus toxin 4), NEM, 5) Brefeldin A, 6) nPKC inhibition, 7) DTT, 8) Melatonin and 9) Methylene Blue. Substances (NEM, Bref A, PKI, db-cAMP, PEG) that affect plasmalemmal sealing in B104 cells in vitro have similar effects on plasmalemmal sealing in rat sciatic nerves ex vivo. Based on data from co-application of enhancers and inhibitors of sealing, I propose a plasmalemmal sealing model having four partly redundant, parallel pathways mediated by 1) PKA, 2) Epac, 3) cytosolic oxidation and 4) nPKCs. The identification and confirmation of these pathways may provide novel clinical targets for repairing and/or recovery from traumatic injury. The fusogenic compound PEG rapidly repairs axonal continuity of severed axons, potentially by rejoining severed proximal and distal axons. PEG-fusion is influenced by plasmalemmal sealing, since unsealed axons are easier to PEG fuse. I demonstrate that PEG restores morphological continuity, and improves behavioral recovery following crush-severance to sciatic nerves in rats in vivo. Co-application of Mel or MB prior to PEG application further improves PEG fusion (as measured by electrophysiology) and behavioral recovery following crush-severance in vivo. These PEG data may provide novel clinical techniques for rapidly repairing axonal severance.