ErbB2 Receptor Over-Expression Improves Post-Traumatic Peripheral Nerve Regeneration in Adult Mice

Ronchi, Giulia; Gambarotta, Giovanna; Di Scipio, Federica; Salamone, Paolina; Sprio, Andrea E.; Cavallo, Federica; Perroteau, Isabelle; Berta, Giovanni N.; Geuna, Stefano
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
In a transgenic mice (BALB-neuT) over-expressing ErbB2 receptor, we investigated the adult mouse median nerve in physiological and pathological conditions. Results showed that, in physiological conditions, the grip function controlled by the median nerve in BALB-neuT mice was similar to wild-type (BALB/c). Stereological assessment of ErbB2-overexpressing intact nerves revealed no difference in number and size of myelinated fibers compared to wild-type mice. By contrast, after a nerve crush injury, the motor recovery was significantly faster in BALB-neuT compared to BALB/c mice. Moreover, stereological assessment revealed a significant higher number of regenerated myelinated fibers with a thinner axon and fiber diameter and myelin thickness in BALB-neuT mice. At day-2 post-injury, the level of the mRNAs coding for all the ErbB receptors and for the transmembrane (type III) Neuregulin 1 (NRG1) isoforms significantly decreased in both BALB/c and BALB-neuT mice, as shown by quantitative real time PCR. On the other hand, the level of the mRNAs coding for soluble NRG1 isoforms (type I/II, alpha and beta) increased at the same post-traumatic time point though, intriguingly, this response was significantly higher in BALB-neuT mice with respect to BALB/c mice. Altogether, these results suggest that constitutive ErbB2 receptor over-expression does not influence the physiological development of peripheral nerves, while it improves nerve regeneration following traumatic injury, possibly through the up-regulation of soluble NRG1 isoforms.


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