Elizabeth J. Fry, Melanie J. Chagnon, Rubèn López-Vales, Michel L. Tremblay, Samuel David
Receptor protein tyrosine phosphatase sigma (RPTPσ) plays a role in inhibiting axon growth during development. It has also been shown to slow axon regeneration after peripheral nerve injury and inhibit axon regeneration in the optic nerve. Here, we assessed the ability of the corticospinal tract (CST) axons to regenerate after spinal hemisection and contusion injury in RPTPσ deficient (RPTPσ−/−) mice. We show that damaged CST fibers in RPTPσ−/− mice regenerate and appear to extend for long distances after a dorsal hemisection or contusion injury of the thoracic spinal cord. In contrast, no long distance axon regeneration of CST fibers is seen after similar lesions in wild-type mice. In vitro experiments indicate that cerebellar granule neurons from RPTPσ−/− mice have reduced sensitivity to the inhibitory effects of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) substrate, but not myelin, which may contribute to the growth of CST axons across the CSPG-rich glial scar. Our data suggest that RPTPσ may function to prevent axonal growth after injury in the adult mammalian spinal cord and could be a target for promoting long distance regeneration after spinal cord injury.