Bone marrow stromal cells promote neuroplasticity of cerebral ischemic rats via a phosphorylated CRMP2-mediated mechanism

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Collapsin response mediator protein 2 (CRMP2), an important protein involved in axonal growth and the maintenance of neuronal membrane integrity, has proved to be altered in nervous system diseases. This study was aimed to investigate the role of CRMP2 in bone marrow stromal cells (BMSCs) treating rats with cerebral ischemia. BMSCs were isolated from shaft of the femurs, tibiae, and humeri and were intra-carotid administrated immediately after middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO). Modified Neurological Severity Scores (mNSS) was conducted at 3, 7, 14 dpo and the electrophysiologic evaluation was evaluated at 14 dpo. Then all rats were sacrificed and brain tissues were harvested for RT-PCR, Western blot and Immunohistochemistry analysis. We found BMSCs treatment significantly improved the neurobehavioral performance impaired by ischemic brain injury, accompanied with the notably increasing levels of Synaptophysin (SYP) and Growth associated protein 43 (GAP43). We also found the protein level of phosphorylated CRMP2 (p-CRMP2) and phosphorylation-mediated protein including Glycogen synthase kinase 3 Beta (GSK3β), Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) were dramatically downregulated in ischemic rats following BMSCs transplant. Furthermore, the GSK3β-mediated factors including neurotrophic and signaling factors were all significantly upregulated in BMSCs-treated group. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that the neuroplasticity effect of BMSCs on cerebral ischemia may be associated with the phosphorylated modulation of CRMP2.

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