• cerebral infarction;
  • midkine;
  • muscular injury;
  • nerve injury;
  • neurotrophic factor;
  • sciatic nerve

Midkine (MK) is a growth factor with neurotrophic and neurite outgrowth activities. It was expressed in the peri-ischaemic area in the acute phase of cerebral infarction in rat brains. Astrocytes were the origin of MK in this occasion. MK has been assessed in terms of its effects on neural injury. The administration of MK into the lateral ventricle immediately prior to ischaemia prevented cell death in the hippocampal CA1 neurons degenerated by transient forebrain ischaemia in gerbils. MK administration was also beneficial in rats with neural injury, especially after kainic acid-induced seizures. Gene therapy with mouse MK cDNA using an adenovirus was effective in reducing the cerebral infarction volume and in increasing the number of neuronal precursor cells in the subventricular zone of the rat brain. MK mRNA and MK protein were found in spinal cord motor neurons of the anterior horn in both the acute phase of sciatic nerve injury and 3 weeks later. MK immunoreactivity was also found in the proximal side of a sciatic nerve-injured site in sciatic nerve axons. MK receptors were expressed in Schwann cells after injury, suggesting crosstalk between axons and Schwann cells. MK was also present in nerve terminals and influenced ACh receptor clustering during neuromuscular development in Xenopus. Thus, MK may also be involved in reinforcing and maintaining the synapse. All these findings indicate the therapeutic potential of MK for promoting repair of the nervous system after injury.

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