The Ryk receptor is expressed in glial and fibronectin-expressing cells after spinal cord injury

J Neurotrauma. 2013 May 15;30(10):806-17. doi: 10.1089/neu.2012.2613. Epub 2013 May 9.


Wnt proteins play a critical role in central nervous system development and have been implicated in several neuropathologies, including spinal cord injury (SCI). Ryk, an unconventional Wnt receptor, regulates axonal regeneration after SCI, although its expression pattern in this neuropathology remains unclear. Therefore, we sought to define the spatiotemporal and cellular pattern of Ryk expression after a contusive SCI in adult rats using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), Western blot, and immunohistochemical analysis. Under physiological conditions, Ryk is expressed in neurons, astrocytes, and blood vessels, but not in oligodendrocytes, microglia, NG2+ glial precursor cells, or axonal projections. Following SCI, we observed an increase in Ryk mRNA expression from 24 h post-injury until 7 days post-injury, whereas its protein levels were significantly augmented at 7 and 14 days post-injury. Moreover, the spatial and cellular Ryk expression pattern was altered in the damaged tissue, where this receptor was observed in reactive astrocytes and microglia/macrophages, NG2+ glial precursors, fibronectin+ cells, oligodendrocytes, and axons. In conclusion, we demonstrate that Ryk is expressed in the unlesioned spinal cord and that, after SCI, its spatiotemporal and cellular expression pattern changed dramatically, being expressed in cells involved in the spinal cord response to damage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / pathology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibronectins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Neuroglia / metabolism*
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / genetics
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology


  • Fibronectins
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Ryk protein, rat