After spinal cord injury (SCI), astrocytes become hypertrophic, and proliferative, forming a dense network of astroglial processes at the site of the lesion. This constitutes a physical and biochemical barrier to axonal regeneration. Mitochondrial fission regulates cell cycle progression; inhibiting the cell cycle of astrocytes can reduce expression levels of axon growth-inhibitory molecules as well as astroglial scar formation after SCI. We therefore investigated how an inhibitor of mitochondrial fission, Mdivi-1, would affect astrocyte proliferation, astroglial scar formation, and axonal regeneration following SCI in rats. Western blot and immunofluorescent double-labeling showed that Mdivi-1 markedly reduced the expression of the astrocyte marker glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and a cell proliferation marker, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, in astrocytes 3 days after SCI. Moreover, Mdivi-1 decreased the expression of GFAP and neurocan, a chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan. Notably, immunofluorescent labeling and Nissl staining showed that Mdivi-1 elevated the production of growth-associated protein-43 and increased neuronal survival at 4 weeks after SCI. Finally, hematoxylin-eosin staining, and behavioral evaluation of motor function indicated that Mdivi-1 also reduced cavity formation and improved motor function 4 weeks after SCI. Our results confirm that Mdivi-1 promotes motor function after SCI, and indicate that inhibiting mitochondrial fission using Mdivi-1 can inhibit astrocyte activation and astroglial scar formation and contribute to axonal regeneration after SCI in rats.
Li, G., Cao, Y., Shen, F., Wang, Y., Bai, L., Guo, W., … Fan, Z. (2016). Mdivi-1. Inhibits astrocyte activation and astroglial scar formation and enhances axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury in rats. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 10(OCT2016). https://doi.org/10.3389/fncel.2016.00241