Nicotinamide Mononucleotide Adenylyl Transferase 2 Inhibition Aggravates Neurological Damage after Traumatic Brain Injury in a Rat Model

J Korean Neurosurg Soc. 2023 Jul;66(4):400-408. doi: 10.3340/jkns.2022.0115. Epub 2022 Oct 27.


Objective: Nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2 (NMNAT2) is a crucial factor for the survival of neuron. The role of NMNAT2 in damage following traumatic brain injury (TBI) remains unknown. This study was designed to investigate the role of NMNAT2 in TBI-induced neuronal degeneration and neurological deficits in rats.

Methods: The TBI model was established in Sprague-Dawley rats by a weight-dropping method. Real-time polymerase chain reaction, western blot, immunofluorescence, Fluoro-Jade C staining, and neurological score analyses were carried out.

Results: NMNAT2 mRNA and protein levels were increased in the injured-side cortex at 6 hours and peaked 12 hours after TBI. Knocking down NMNAT2 with an injection of small interfering RNA in lateral ventricle significantly exacerbated neuronal degeneration and neurological deficits after TBI, which were accompanied by increased expression of BCL-2-associated X protein (Bax).

Conclusion: NMNAT2 expression is increased and NMNAT2 exhibits neuroprotective activity in the early stages after TBI, and Bax signaling pathway may be involved in the process. Thus, NMNAT2 is likely to be an important target to prevent secondary damage following TBI.

Keywords: BCL2 associated X; Neurological deficit; Neuronal degenerative; Nicotinamide nucleotide adenylyltransferase 2; Traumatic brain injury.