A re-assessment of the effects of a Nogo-66 receptor antagonist on regenerative growth of axons and locomotor recovery after spinal cord injury in mice

Exp Neurol. 2008 Feb;209(2):446-68. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2007.12.010. Epub 2007 Dec 23.


This study was undertaken as part of the NIH "Facilities of Research-Spinal Cord Injury" project to support independent replication of published studies. Here, we repeated a study reporting that treatment with the NgR antagonist peptide NEP1-40 results in enhanced growth of corticospinal and serotonergic axons and enhanced locomotor recovery after thoracic spinal cord injury. Mice received dorsal hemisection injuries at T8 and then received either NEP1-40, Vehicle, or a Control Peptide beginning 4-5 h (early treatment) or 7 days (delayed treatment) post-injury. CST axons were traced by injecting BDA into the sensorimotor cortex. Serotonergic axons were assessed by immunocytochemistry. Hindlimb motor function was assessed using the BBB and BMS scales, kinematic and footprint analyses, and a grid climbing task. There were no significant differences between groups in the density of CST axon arbors in the gray matter rostral to the injury or in the density of serotonergic axons caudal to the injury. Tract tracing revealed that a small number of CST axons extended past the lesion in the ventral column in some mice in all treatment groups. The proportion of mice with such axons was higher in the NEP1-40 groups that received early treatment. In one experiment, mice treated with either NEP1-40 or a Control Peptide (reverse sequence) had higher BBB and BMS scores than Vehicle-treated controls at the early post-injury testing intervals, but scores converged at later intervals. There were no statistically significant differences between groups on other functional outcome measures. In a second experiment comparing NEP-treated and Vehicle controls, there were no statistically significant differences on any of the functional outcome measures. Together, our results suggest that treatment with NEP1-40 created a situation that was slightly more conducive to axon regeneration or sprouting. Enhanced functional recovery was not seen consistently with the different functional assessments, however.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Axons / drug effects*
  • Axons / physiology
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives
  • Biotin / metabolism
  • Dextrans / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Myelin Proteins / administration & dosage*
  • Myelin Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Nogo Receptor 1
  • Peptide Fragments / administration & dosage*
  • Psychomotor Performance / drug effects
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Recovery of Function / drug effects*
  • Regeneration / drug effects*
  • Regeneration / physiology
  • Serotonin / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / drug therapy
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries* / physiopathology
  • Time Factors


  • Dextrans
  • GPI-Linked Proteins
  • Myelin Proteins
  • NEPI-40 protein, mouse
  • Nogo Receptor 1
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Rtn4r protein, mouse
  • biotinylated dextran amine
  • Serotonin
  • Biotin