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  • Author or Editor: Liverana Lauretti x
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Massimo Miscusi, Florian Ebner, Sabrina Ceccariglia, Marta Menegazzi, Sofia Mariotto, Luigi Berra, Aurora Del Fa, Carlo Gangitano, Liverana Lauretti, Paolo Missori, Roberto Delfini and Hisanori Suzuki


Because of toxicity at high concentrations, nitric oxide (NO) contributes to spinal cord injury (SCI) secondary lesions. At low concentrations NO modulates nuclear factor–κB (NF-κB) activation. The authors investigated the activity of neuronal and endothelial NO synthase (nNOS and eNOS) to determine correlations with NF-κB activation and inducible NOS (iNOS) expression soon after SCI.


In 48 adult male Wistar rats clip-based (50 g/mm2/10 seconds) SCI was induced, and spinal cords were removed at different intervals for the following evaluations: 1) assaying specific activity of nNOS and eNOS; 2) electrophoresis mobility shift assay for activated NF-κB; 3) Northern blotting for iNOS; 4) immunohistochemistry for iNOS and NF-κB; and 5) immunofluorescence for iNOS and NF-κB.

At 15 minutes postinjury, eNOS activity decreased significantly (p < 0.001), as did nNOS activity at 1 hour compared with these levels in control animals and rats killed at 15 and 30 minutes after SCI (p < 0.001). Basal NF-κB levels were variable in controls and at 15 and 30 minutes after injury. One hour postinjury, NF-κB activation was diffuse. Inducible NOS messenger RNA localized diffusely, peaking 6 hours after injury and remaining stable until 24 hours postinjury. Immunohistochemical analysis showed diffuse iNOS and NF-κB staining, especially in neurons inside and around the lesion. Immunofluorescence demonstrated that injured neurons were a source of NF-κB and iNOS soon after injury.


Both nNOS and eNOS exhibited different regulation and roles soon after injury: nNOS correlated with NF-κB activation, whereas eNOS may have participated in vascular changes of the injured spinal cord. Neurons seemed to play a pivotal role in modulating and amplifying the inflammatory response in the injured spinal cord.