Tricyclic antidepressant amitriptyline (AM) has been shown to exert neurotrophic activity on neurons. We thus explored whether AM may aid the neuronal development and protect anesthesia-induced neuro-injury in young spinal cord dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons.
The DRG explants were prepared from 1-day-old rats. The effect of AM on aiding DRG neural development was examined by immunohistochemistry at dose-dependent manner. AM-induced changes in gene and protein expressions, and also phosphorylation states of tyrosine kinases receptor A (TrkA) and B (TrkB) in DRG, were examined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and western blot. The effect of AM on attenuating lidocaine-induced DRG neurodegeneration was examined by immunohistochemistry, and small interfering RNA (siRNA)-mediated TrkA/B down-regulation.
Amitriptyline stimulated DRG neuronal development in dose-dependent manner, but exerted toxic effect at concentrations higher than 10 M. AM activated TrkA in DRG through phosphorylation, whereas it had little effect on TrkB-signaling pathway. AM reduced lidocaine-induced DRG neurodegeneration by regenerating neurites and growth cones. Moreover, the neuroprotection of AM on lidocaine-injured neurodegeneration was blocked by siRNA-mediated TrkA down-regulation, but not by TrkB down-regulation.
Amitriptyline facilitated neuronal development and had protective effect on lidocaine-induced neurodegeneration, very likely through the activation of TrkA-signaling pathway in DRG.