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. 2014 Sep 26;277:356-66.
doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.06.069. Epub 2014 Jul 9.

Tegaserod, a Small Compound Mimetic of Polysialic Acid, Promotes Functional Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury in Mice

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Tegaserod, a Small Compound Mimetic of Polysialic Acid, Promotes Functional Recovery After Spinal Cord Injury in Mice

H-C Pan et al. Neuroscience. .

Abstract

In a previous study, we have shown that the small organic compound tegaserod, a drug approved for clinical application in an unrelated condition, is a mimic of the regeneration-beneficial glycan polysialic acid (PSA) in a mouse model of femoral nerve injury. Several independent observations have shown positive effects of PSA and its mimetic peptides in different paradigms of injury of the central and peripheral mammalian nervous systems. Since small organic compounds generally have advantages over metabolically rapidly degraded glycans and the proteolytically vulnerable mimetic peptides, a screen for a small PSA mimetic compound was successfully carried out, and the identified molecule proved to be beneficial in neurite outgrowth in vitro, independent of its originally described function as a 5-HT4 receptor agonist. In the present study, a mouse spinal cord compression device was used to elicit severe compression injury. We show that tegaserod promotes hindlimb motor function at 6 weeks after spinal cord injury compared to the control group receiving vehicle only. Immunohistology of the spinal cord rostral and caudal to the lesion site showed increased numbers of neurons, and a reduced area and intensity of glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity. Quantification of regrowth/sprouting of axons immunoreactive for tyrosine hydroxylase and serotonin showed increased axonal density rostral and caudal to the injury site in the ventral horns of mice treated with tegaserod. The combined observations suggest that tegaserod has the potential for treatment of spinal cord injuries in higher vertebrates.

Keywords: axonal regeneration; motor function; polysialic acid; spinal cord injury; tegaserod.

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