Objective: Spinal cord injury is considered to be related to a vulnerability of spinal motor neurons to ischemia. However, the mechanisms underlying this vulnerability are not fully understood. We investigated the role of autophagy, which is an intracellular bulk degradation process, at motor neuron as a potential mechanism of neuronal death by immunohistochemical analysis for microtubule-associated protein light chain3 (LC3) and γ-aminobutyric-acid type-A-receptor-associated protein (GABARAP) which are considered as markers of autophagy. Methods: We used a rabbit spinal cord ischemia model with the use of a balloon catheter. The spinal cord was removed at 8 hours, 1, 2, or 7 days after 15 minutes of transient ischemia, and histologic changes were examined with hematoxylin-eosin staining. Western blot analysis for LC3 and GABARAP, temporal profiles of LC3 and GABARAP immunoreactivity, and double-label fluorescence immunocytochemical studies were performed. Results: In the ischemia group, about 85% of motor neurons were preserved until 2 days after reperfusion, but were selectively lost at 7 days (P < .001 compared with sham group). Western blot analysis demonstrated slight immunoreactivity for LC3 and GABARAP in the sham-operated spinal cords. In contrast, the ischemia group LC3 and GABARAP immunoreactivity became apparent at 8 hours after reperfusion. With quantitative analysis we found that ischemia affected expression profiles of LC3-II and GABARAP. At 8 hours after reperfusion, co-labeling of LC3 and GABARAP were observed in the same motor neurons that eventually died. Conclusion: These data suggest that autophagy was induced in motor neurons by transient spinal cord ischemia in rabbits.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine