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Keywords:

  • axon;
  • bone morphogenetic proteins;
  • neuron;
  • regeneration;
  • spinal cord

Abstract

Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) are multifunctional growth factors that belong to the transforming growth factor-β superfamily. BMPs regulate several crucial aspects of embryonic development and organogenesis. The reemergence of BMPs in the injured adult CNS suggests their involvement in the pathogenesis of the lesion. Here, we demonstrate that BMPs are potent inhibitors of axonal regeneration in the adult spinal cord. The expression of BMP-2/4 is elevated in oligodendrocytes and astrocytes around the injury site following spinal cord contusion. Intrathecal administration of noggin – a soluble BMP antagonist—leads to enhanced locomotor activity and reveals significant regrowth of the corticospinal tract after spinal cord contusion. Thus, BMPs play a role in inhibiting axonal regeneration and limiting functional recovery following injury to the CNS.