Spinal expression of Hippo signaling components YAP and TAZ following peripheral nerve injury in rats

Na Li, Grewo Lim, Lucy Chen, Michael F McCabe, Hyangin Kim, Shuzhuo Zhang, Jianren Mao
Brain Research 2013 October 16, 1535: 137-47
Previous studies have shown that the morphology and number of cells in the spinal cord dorsal horn could change following peripheral nerve injury and that the Hippo signaling pathway plays an important role in cell growth, proliferation, apoptosis, and dendritic remolding. In the present study, we examined whether the expression of YAP and TAZ, two critical components regulated by Hippo signaling, in the spinal cord dorsal horn would be altered by chronic constriction sciatic nerve injury (CCI). We found that (1) YAP was mainly expressed on CGRP- and IB4-immunoreactive primary afferent nerve terminals without noticeable expression on glial cells, whereas TAZ was mainly expressed on spinal cord second order neurons as well as microglia; (2) upregulation of YAP and TAZ expression followed two distinct temporal patterns after CCI, such that the highest expression of YAP and TAZ was on day 14 and day 1 after CCI, respectively; (3) there were also unique topographic patterns of YAP and TAZ distribution in the spinal cord dorsal horn consistent with their distinctive association with primary afferents and second order neurons; (4) changes in the YAP expression were selectively induced by CCI but not CFA-induced hindpaw inflammation; and (5) the number of nuclear profiles of TAZ expression was significantly increased after CCI, indicating translocation of TAZ from the cytoplasma to nucleus. These findings indicate that peripheral nerve injury induced time-dependent and region-specific changes in the spinal YAP and TAZ expression. A role for Hippo signaling in synaptic and structural plasticity is discussed in relation to the cellular mechanism of neuropathic pain.

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