A reliable method to reduce collagen scar formation in the lesioned rat spinal cord

S Hermanns, P Reiprich, H W Müller
Journal of Neuroscience Methods 2001 September 30, 110 (1): 141-6
Following traumatic injury, the formation of a glial scar and deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) contributes to the regeneration failure in the adult mammalian central nervous system (CNS). Using a postcommissural fornix transection as a brain lesion model in rat, we have previously shown that the collagenous basement membrane (BM) at the lesion site is a major impediment for axon regeneration. Deposition of BM in this lesion model can be delayed by administration of the iron chelator 2,2'-bipyridine (BPY), an inhibitor of prolyl 4-hydroxylase (PH), a key enzyme of collagen biosynthesis. To examine whether this potential therapeutic approach is transferable to other CNS regions, we have chosen the mechanically lesioned rat spinal cord to investigate the effects of BPY administration on BM formation. Due to the close proximity of the lesion zone to meningeal fibroblasts, a cell-type secreting large amounts of collagen IV, BM deposition was much more extensive in the spinal cord than in the brain lesion. Neither immediate injections nor continuous application of BPY resulted in a detectable reduction of BM formation in the spinal cord. Only a combination of anti-scarring treatments including (i) injection of the more potent PH inhibitor [2,2'-bipyridine]-5,5'-dicarboxylic acid (BPY-DCA), (ii) selective inhibition of fibroblast proliferation and ECM production by 8-Br-cAMP, and (iii) continuous application of BPY-DCA, reduced the lesion-induced BM significantly. The present results clearly demonstrate, that the exclusive application of BPY according to a protocol designed for treatment of brain lesions is not sufficient to reduce BM formation in the lesioned adult rat spinal cord.

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