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Keywords:

  • Robo;
  • GTPase-activating protein;
  • dorsal root ganglion;
  • nerve regeneration

Abstract

The Slit–Robo GTPase-activating proteins (srGAPs) play an important role in neurite outgrowth and axon guidance; however, little is known about its role in nerve regeneration after injury. Here, we studied the expression of srGAPs in mouse dorsal root ganglia (DRG) following sciatic nerve transection (SNT) using morphometric and immunohistochemical techniques. Reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis indicated that srGAP1 and srGAP3, but not srGAP2, were expressed in normal adult DRG. Following unilateral SNT, elevated mRNA and protein levels of srGAP1 and srGAP3 were detected in the ipsilateral relative to contralateral L3–4 DRGs from day 3 to day 14. Immunohistochemical results showed that srGAP1 and srGAP3 were largely expressed in subpopulations of DRG neurons in naïve DRGs. However, after SNT, srGAP3 in neurons was significantly increased in the ipsilateral relative to contralateral DRGs, which peaked at day 7 to day 14. Interestingly, DRG neurons with strong srGAP3 labeling also coexpressed Robo2 after peripheral nerve injury. These results suggest that srGAPs are differentially expressed in murine DRG and srGAP3 are the predominant form. Moreover, srGAP3 may participate in Slit–Robo signaling in response to peripheral nerve injury or the course of nerve regeneration. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.