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Keywords:

  • PPAR-δ;
  • differentiation;
  • spinal cord injury;
  • proliferation;
  • cell genesis;
  • myelin

Abstract

The transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-δ promotes oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin formation in vitro and is prevalent throughout the brain and spinal cord. Its expression after injury, however, has not been examined. Thus, we used a spinal contusion model to examine the spatiotemporal expression of PPAR-δ in naïve and injured spinal cords from adult rats. As previously reported, PPAR-δ was expressed by neurons and oligodendrocytes in uninjured spinal cords; PPAR-δ was also detected in NG2 cells (potential oligodendrocyte progenitors) within the white matter and gray matter. After spinal cord injury (SCI), PPAR-δ mRNA and protein were present early and increased over time. Overall PPAR-δ+ cell numbers declined at 1 day post injury (dpi), likely reflecting neuron loss, and then rose through 14 dpi. A large proportion of NG2 cells expressed PPAR-δ after SCI, especially along lesion borders. PPAR-δ+ NG2 cell numbers were significantly higher than naive by 7 dpi and remained elevated through at least 28 dpi. PPAR-δ+ oligodendrocyte numbers declined at 1 dpi and then increased over time such that >20% of oligodendrocytes expressed PPAR-δ after SCI compared with ∼10% in uninjured tissue. The most prominent increase in PPAR-δ+ oligodendrocytes was along lesion borders where at least a portion of newly generated oligodendrocytes (bromodeoxyuridine+) were PPAR-δ+. Consistent with its role in cellular differentiation, the early rise in PPAR-δ+ NG2 cells followed by an increase in new PPAR-δ+ oligodendrocytes suggests that this transcription factor may be involved in the robust oligodendrogenesis detected previously along SCI lesion borders. J. Comp. Neurol. 518:785–799, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.