The inflammatory response that accompanies central nervous system (CNS) injury can affect neurological outcome in both positive and negative ways. In the optic nerve, a CNS pathway that normally fails to regenerate when damaged, intraocular inflammation causes retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) to switch into an active growth state and extend lengthy axons down the nerve. The molecular basis of this phenomenon is uncertain. A prior study showed that oncomodulin (Ocm), a Ca2+-binding protein secreted by a macrophage cell line, is a potent axon-promoting factor for RGCs. However, it is not known whether Ocm contributes to the physiological effects of intraocular inflammation in vivo, and there are conflicting reports in the literature regarding its expression and significance. We show here that intraocular inflammation causes infiltrative cells of the innate immune system to secrete high levels of Ocm, and that agents that prevent Ocm from binding to its receptor suppress axon regeneration. These results were verified in different strains, species, and experimental models, and establish Ocm as a potent growth-promoting signal between the innate immune system and neurons in vivo.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Nov 17 2009|
- Trophic factor
ASJC Scopus subject areas