PLoS One, Mar 2016

Overexpression of the Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor 1 (FGFR1) in a Model of Spinal Cord Injury in Rats

Haenzi B, Gers-Barlag K, Akhoundzadeh H, Hutson TH, Menezes SC, Bunge MB, Moon LD


Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a severe condition that affects many people and results in high health care costs. Therefore, it is essential to find new targets for treatment. The fibroblast growth factor receptor 1 (FGFR1) signalling pathway has a history of being explored for SCI treatment. Several groups have examined the effect of high availability of different FGFR1 ligands at the injury site and reported corticospinal tract (CST) regeneration as well as improved motor functions. In this study, we investigated overexpression of the FGFR1 in rat corticospinal neurons in vivo after injury (unilateral pyramidotomy) and in cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs) in vitro. We show that overexpression of FGFR1 using AAV1 intracortical injections did not increase sprouting of the treated corticospinal tract and did not improve dexterity or walking in a rat model of SCI. Furthermore, we show that overexpression of FGFR1 in vitro resulted in decreased neurite outgrowth compared to control. Thus, our results suggest that the FGFR1 is not a suitable therapeutic target after SCI.


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