FK1706, a novel non-immunosuppressant neurophilin ligand, ameliorates motor dysfunction following spinal cord injury through its neuroregenerative action

Takayuki Yamaji, Shunji Yamazaki, Jiyao Li, Raymond D Price, Nobuya Matsuoka, Seitaro Mutoh
European Journal of Pharmacology 2008 September 4, 591 (1): 147-52
Injured spinal cord axons fail to regenerate in part due to a lack of trophic support. While various methods for replacing neurotrophins have been pursued, clinical uses of these methods face significant barriers. FK1706, a non-immunosuppressant neurophilin ligand, potentiates nerve growth factor signaling, suggesting therapeutic potential for functional deficits following spinal cord injury. Here, we demonstrate that FK1706 significantly improves behavioral outcomes in animal models of spinal cord hemisection and contusion injuries in rats. Furthermore, we show that FK1706 is effective even if administration is delayed until 1 week after injury, suggesting that FK1706 has a reasonable therapeutic time-window. Morphological analysis of injured axons in the dorsal corticospinal tract showed an increase in the radius and perimeter of stained axons, which were reduced by FK1706 treatment, suggesting that axonal swelling and retraction balls observed in injured spinal cord were improved by the neurotrophic effect of FK1706. Taken together, FK1706 improves both behavioral motor function and the underlying morphological changes, suggesting that FK1706 may have therapeutic potential in meeting the significant unmet needs in spinal cord injury.

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