© 2018 The Author(s). Injured neurons should engage endogenous mechanisms of self-protection to limit neurodegeneration. Enhancing efficacy of these mechanisms or correcting dysfunctional pathways may be a successful strategy for inducing neuroprotection. Spinal motoneurons retrogradely degenerate after proximal axotomy due to mechanical detachment (avulsion) of the nerve roots, and this limits recovery of nervous system function in patients after this type of trauma. In a previously reported proteomic analysis, we demonstrated that autophagy is a key endogenous mechanism that may allow motoneuron survival and regeneration after distal axotomy and suture of the nerve. Herein, we show that autophagy flux is dysfunctional or blocked in degenerated motoneurons after root avulsion. We also found that there were abnormalities in anterograde/retrograde motor proteins, key secretory pathway factors, and lysosome function. Further, LAMP1 protein was missorted and underglycosylated as well as the proton pump v-ATPase. In vitro modeling revealed how sequential disruptions in these systems likely lead to neurodegeneration. In vivo, we observed that cytoskeletal alterations, induced by a single injection of nocodazole, were sufficient to promote neurodegeneration of avulsed motoneurons. Besides, only pre-Treatment with rapamycin, but not post-Treatment, neuroprotected after nerve root avulsion. In agreement, overexpressing ATG5 in injured motoneurons led to neuroprotection and attenuation of cytoskeletal and trafficking-related abnormalities. These discoveries serve as proof of concept for autophagy-Target therapy to halting the progression of neurodegenerative processes.
|Journal||Cell Death and Disease|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2018|