Neurobiol Dis 2006 Oct 23;24(1):67-88. Epub 2006 Aug 23.
Neuroimmunology Unit, Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, CMM, L8:04, Karolinska University Hospital Solna, SE-17176, Stockholm, Sweden.
Axonal damage, a core feature of neurological diseases, induces a retrograde reaction in neurons and surrounding glia. We determined transcriptional profiles of this reaction using Affymetrix oligonucleotide arrays. Gene expression was examined in spinal cord tissue prior to injury and following ventral root avulsion in two inbred rat strains, where the degree of neurodegeneration differs. Stringent statistical analysis revealed 278 regulated genes, whereof 245 were regulated by the injury and 68 differed between strains. Principal component analysis disclosed a common injury response pattern significantly modified by genetic background. Notably, inflammatory genes comprised the largest group of genes induced by injury and these transcripts prevailed in the strain most susceptible to neurodegeneration. In addition, levels of the strain regulated genes C1qb and Timp1 correlated with degree of neurodegeneration in a cohort of genetically heterogeneous animals. These results suggest a link between the inflammatory response elicited by nerve injury and subsequent neurodegeneration.