Retrogradely-transported neurotrophin signaling plays an important role in regulating neural circuit specificity. Here we investigated whether targeted delivery of neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) to lumbar motoneurons (MNs) caudal to a thoracic (T10) contusive spinal cord injury (SCI) could modulate dendritic patterning and synapse formation of the lumbar MNs. In vitro, Adeno-associated virus serotype two overexpressing NT-3 (AAV-NT-3) induced NT-3 expression and neurite outgrowth in cultured spinal cord neurons. In vivo, targeted delivery of AAV-NT-3 into transiently demyelinated adult mouse sciatic nerves led to the retrograde transportation of NT-3 to the lumbar MNs, significantly attenuating SCI-induced lumbar MN dendritic atrophy. NT-3 enhanced sprouting and synaptic formation of descending serotonergic, dopaminergic, and propriospinal axons on lumbar MNs, parallel to improved behavioral recovery. Thus, retrogradely transported NT-3 stimulated remodeling of lumbar neural circuitry and synaptic connectivity remote to a thoracic SCI, supporting a role for retrograde transport of NT-3 as a potential therapeutic strategy for SCI.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)