Chien-Yi Chiang, Meei-Ling Sheu, Fu-Chou Cheng, Chun-Jung Chen, Hong-Lin Su, Jason Sheehan and Hung-Chuan Pan
Neuropathic pain is debilitating, and when chronic, it significantly affects the patient physically, psychologically, and socially. The neurobehavior of animals used as a model for chronic constriction injury seems analogous to the neurobehavior of humans with neuropathic pain. However, no data depicting the severity of histomorphological alterations of the nervous system associated with graded changes in neurobehavior are available. To determine the severity of histomorphological alteration related to neurobehavior, the authors created a model of chronic constrictive injury of varying intensity in rats and used the CatWalk XT system to evaluate neurobehavior.
A total of 60 Sprague-Dawley rats, weighing 250–300 g each, were randomly assigned to 1 of 5 groups that would receive sham surgery or 1, 2, 3, or 4 ligatures of 3-0 chromic gut loosely ligated around the left sciatic nerve. Neurobehavior was assessed by CatWalk XT, thermal hyperalgesia, and mechanic allodynia before injury and periodically after injury. The nerve tissue from skin to dorsal spinal cord was obtained for histomorphological analysis 1 week after injury, and brain evoked potentials were analyzed 4 weeks after injury.
Significant differences in expression of nerve growth factor existed in skin, and the differences were associated with the intensity of nerve injury. After injury, expression of cluster of differentiation 68 and tumor necrosis factor–α was increased, and expression of S100 protein in the middle of the injured nerve was decreased. Increased expression of synaptophysin in the dorsal root ganglion and dorsal spinal cord correlated with the intensity of injury. The amplitude of sensory evoked potential increased with greater severity of nerve damage. Mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia did not differ significantly among treatment groups at various time points. CatWalk XT gait analysis indicated significant differences for print areas, maximum contact maximum intensity, stand phase, swing phase, single stance, and regular index, with sham and/or intragroup comparisons.
Histomorphological and electrophysiological alterations were associated with severity of nerve damage. Subtle neurobehavioral differences were detected by the CatWalk XT system but not by mechanical allodynia or thermal hyperalgesia. Thus, the CatWalk XT system should be a useful tool for monitoring changes in neuropathic pain, especially subtle alterations.
Fu-Chou Cheng, Meei-Ling Sheu, Hong-Lin Su, Ying-Ju Chen, Chun-Jung Chen, Wen-Ta Chiu, Jason Sheehan and Hung-Chuan Pan
Mobilization of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs) from bone marrow involved in the process of peripheral nerve regeneration occurs mostly through deposits of CD34+ cells. Treadmill exercise, with either differing intensity or duration, has been shown to increase axon regeneration and sprouting, but the effect of mobilization of HPCs on peripheral nerve regeneration due to treadmill exercise has not yet been elucidated.
Peripheral nerve injury was induced in Sprague-Dawley rats by crushing the left sciatic nerve using a vessel clamp. The animals were categorized into 2 groups: those with and without treadmill exercise (20 m/min for 60 minutes per day for 7 days). Cytospin and flow cytometry were used to determine bone marrow progenitor cell density and distribution. Neurobehavioral analysis, electrophysiological study, and regeneration marker expression were investigated at 1 and 3 weeks after exercise. The accumulation of HPCs, immune cells, and angiogenesis factors in injured nerves was determined. A separate chimeric mice study was conducted to assess CD34+ cell distribution according to treadmill exercise group.
Treadmill exercise significantly promoted nerve regeneration. Increased Schwann cell proliferation, increased neurofilament expression, and decreased Schwann cell apoptosis were observed 7 days after treadmill exercise. Elevated expression of S100 and Luxol fast blue, as well as decreased numbers of vacuoles, were identified in the crushed nerve 3 weeks after treadmill exercise. Significantly increased numbers of mononuclear cells, particularly CD34+ cells, were induced in bone marrow after treadmill exercise. The deposition of CD34+ cells was abolished by bone marrow irradiation. In addition, deposits of CD34+ cells in crushed nerves paralleled the elevated expressions of von Willebrand factor, isolectin B4, and vascular endothelial growth factor.
Bone marrow HPCs, especially CD34+ cells, were able to be mobilized by low-intensity treadmill exercise, and this effect paralleled the significant expression of angiogenesis factors. Treadmill exercise stimulation of HPC mobilization during peripheral nerve regeneration could be used as a therapy in human beings.
Meei-Ling Sheu, Fu-Chou Cheng, Hong-Lin Su, Ying-Ju Chen, Chun-Jung Chen, Chih-Ming Chiang, Wen-Ta Chiu, Jason Sheehan and Hung-Chuan Pan
Increased integration of CD34+ cells in injured nerve significantly promotes nerve regeneration, but this effect can be counteracted by limited migration and short survival of CD34+ cells. SDF-1α and its receptor mediate the recruitment of CD34+ cells involved in the repair mechanism of several neurological diseases. In this study, the authors investigate the potentiation of CD34+ cell recruitment triggered by SDF-1α and the involvement of CD34+ cells in peripheral nerve regeneration.
Peripheral nerve injury was induced in 147 Sprague-Dawley rats by crushing the left sciatic nerve with a vessel clamp. The animals were allocated to 3 groups: Group 1, crush injury (controls); Group 2, crush injury and local application of SDF-1α recombinant proteins; and Group 3, crush injury and local application of SDF-1α antibody. Electrophysiological studies and assessment of regeneration markers were conducted at 4 weeks after injury; neurobehavioral studies were conducted at 1, 2, 3, and 4 weeks after injury. The expression of SDF-1α, accumulation of CD34+ cells, immune cells, and angiogenesis factors in injured nerves were evaluated at 1, 3, 7, 10, 14, 21, and 28 days after injury.
Application of SDF-1α increased the migration of CD34+ cells in vitro, and this effect was dose dependent. Crush injury induced the expression of SDF-1α, with a peak of 10–14 days postinjury, and this increased expression of SDF-1α paralleled the deposition of CD34+ cells, expression of VEGF, and expression of neurofilament. These effects were further enhanced by the administration of SDF-1α recombinant protein and abolished by administration of SDF-1α antibody. Furthermore, these effects were consistent with improvement in measures of neurological function such as sciatic function index, electrophysiological parameters, muscle weight, and myelination of regenerative nerve.
Expression of SDF-1α facilitates recruitment of CD34+ cells in peripheral nerve injury. The increased deposition of CD34+ cells paralleled significant expression of angiogenesis factors and was consistent with improvement of neurological function. Utilization of SDF-1α for enhancing the recruitment of CD34+ cells involved in peripheral nerve regeneration may be considered as an alternative treatment strategy in peripheral nerve disorders.
Dar-Yu Yang, Meei-Ling Sheu, Hong-Lin Su, Fu-Chou Cheng, Ying-Ju Chen, Chun-Jung Chen, Wen-Ta Chiu, Jia-Jean Yiin, Jason Sheehan and Hung-Chuan Pan
Human amniotic fluid–derived mesenchymal stem cells (AFMSCs) have been shown to promote peripheral nerve regeneration. The expression of stromal cell–derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) in the injured nerve exerts a trophic effect by recruiting progenitor cells that promote nerve regeneration. In this study, the authors investigated the feasibility of intravenous administration of AFMSCs according to SDF-1α expression time profiles to facilitate neural regeneration in a sciatic nerve crush injury model.
Peripheral nerve injury was induced in 63 Sprague-Dawley rats by crushing the left sciatic nerve using a vessel clamp. The animals were randomized into 1 of 3 groups: Group I, crush injury as the control; Group II, crush injury and intravenous administration of AFMSCs (5 × 106 cells for 3 days) immediately after injury (early administration); and Group III, crush injury and intravenous administration of AFMSCs (5 × 106 cells for 3 days) 7 days after injury (late administration). Evaluation of neurobehavior, electrophysiological study, and assessment of regeneration markers were conducted every week after injury. The expression of SDF-1α and neurotrophic factors and the distribution of AFMSCs in various time profiles were also assessed.
Stromal cell–derived factor-1α increased the migration and wound healing of AFMSCs in vitro, and the migration ability was dose dependent. Crush injury induced the expression of SDF-1α at a peak of 10–14 days either in nerve or muscle, and this increased expression paralleled the expression of its receptor, chemokine receptor type-4 (CXCR-4). Most AFMSCs were distributed to the lung during early or late administration. Significant deposition of AFMSCs in nerve and muscle only occurred in the late administration group. Significantly enhanced neurobehavior, electrophysiological function, nerve myelination, and expression of neurotrophic factors and acetylcholine receptor were demonstrated in the late administration group.
Amniotic fluid–derived mesenchymal stem cells can be recruited by expression of SDF-1α in muscle and nerve after nerve crush injury. The increased deposition of AFMSCs paralleled the expression profiles of SDF-1α and its receptor CXCR-4 in either muscle or nerve. Administration of AFMSCs led to improvements in neurobehavior and expression of regeneration markers. Intravenous administration of AFMSCs may be a promising alternative treatment strategy in peripheral nerve disorder.