Delayed nerve stimulation promotes axon-protective neurofilament phosphorylation, accelerates immune cell clearance and enhances remyelination in vivo in focally demyelinated nerves

PLoS One. 2014 Oct 13;9(10):e110174. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0110174. eCollection 2014.

Abstract

Rapid and efficient axon remyelination aids in restoring strong electrochemical communication with end organs and in preventing axonal degeneration often observed in demyelinating neuropathies. The signals from axons that can trigger more effective remyelination in vivo are still being elucidated. Here we report the remarkable effect of delayed brief electrical nerve stimulation (ES; 1 hour @ 20 Hz 5 days post-demyelination) on ensuing reparative events in a focally demyelinated adult rat peripheral nerve. ES impacted many parameters underlying successful remyelination. It effected increased neurofilament expression and phosphorylation, both implicated in axon protection. ES increased expression of myelin basic protein (MBP) and promoted node of Ranvier re-organization, both of which coincided with the early reappearance of remyelinated axons, effects not observed at the same time points in non-stimulated demyelinated nerves. The improved ES-associated remyelination was accompanied by enhanced clearance of ED-1 positive macrophages and attenuation of glial fibrillary acidic protein expression in accompanying Schwann cells, suggesting a more rapid clearance of myelin debris and return of Schwann cells to a nonreactive myelinating state. These benefits of ES correlated with increased levels of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the acute demyelination zone, a key molecule in the initiation of the myelination program. In conclusion, the tremendous impact of delayed brief nerve stimulation on enhancement of the innate capacity of a focally demyelinated nerve to successfully remyelinate identifies manipulation of this axis as a novel therapeutic target for demyelinating pathologies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism
  • Demyelinating Diseases / metabolism*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / pathology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Intermediate Filaments / metabolism*
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Myelin Basic Protein / metabolism
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism*
  • Nerve Tissue / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Ranvier's Nodes / metabolism
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Schwann Cells / metabolism
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Stilbamidines / metabolism

Substances

  • 2-hydroxy-4,4'-diamidinostilbene, methanesulfonate salt
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Myelin Basic Protein
  • Stilbamidines