The proinflammatory cytokine, interleukin-17A, augments mitochondrial function and neurite outgrowth of cultured adult sensory neurons derived from normal and diabetic rats

Tarek Habash, Ali Saleh, Subir K Roy Chowdhury, Darrell R Smith, Paul Fernyhough
Experimental Neurology 2015, 273: 177-89

BACKGROUND: Diabetic neuropathy comprises dying back of nerve endings that reflects impairment in axonal plasticity and regenerative nerve growth. Metabolic changes in diabetes can lead to a dysregulation of hormonal mediators, such as cytokines, that may constrain distal nerve fiber growth. Interleukin-17 (IL-17A), a proinflammatory and neurotropic cytokine produced by T-cells, was significantly reduced in sciatic nerve of streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats. Thus we studied the effect of IL-17A on the phenotype of sensory neurons derived from age matched control or type 1 diabetic rats. The aims were to determine the ability of IL-17A to enhance neurite outgrowth in cultured sensory neurons, investigate the signaling pathways activated by IL-17A, study the role of mitochondria and mechanistically link to neurite outgrowth.

RESULTS: IL-17A (10 ng/ml; p<0.05) significantly and dose-dependently increased total neurite outgrowth in cultures of adult dorsal root ganglia (DRG) sensory neurons derived from both control and streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic rats. This enhancement was mediated by IL-17A-dependent activation of extracellular-regulated protein kinase (ERK) and phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI-3K) signal transduction pathways. Pharmacological blockade of one of these activated pathways triggered complete inhibition of neurite outgrowth. IL-17A augmented mitochondrial bioenergetic function of sensory neurons derived from control or diabetic rats and this was also mediated via ERK or PI-3K. IL-17A-dependent elevation of bioenergetic function was associated with augmented expression of proteins of the mitochondrial electron transport system complexes.

CONCLUSIONS: IL-17A enhanced axonal plasticity through activation of ERK and PI-3K pathways and was associated with augmented mitochondrial bioenergetic function in sensory neurons.

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