Thrombin-induced secondary injury is mediated through its receptor, protease activated receptor-1 (PAR-1), by "biased agonism." Activated protein C (APC) acts through the same PAR-1 receptor but functions as an anti-coagulant and anti-inflammatory protein, which counteracts many of the effects of thrombin. Although the working mechanism of PAR-1 is becoming clear, the functional role of PAR-1 and its correlation with APC in the injured spinal cord remains to be elucidated. Here we investigated if PAR-1 and APC are determinants of long-term functional recovery after a spinal cord contusive injury using PAR-1 null and wildtype mice. We found that neutrophil infiltration and disruption of the blood-spinal cord barrier were significantly reduced in spinal cord injured PAR-1 null mice relative to the wild-type group. Both locomotor recovery and ability to descend an inclined grid were significantly improved in the PAR-1 null group 42 days after injury and this improvement was associated with greater long-term sparing of white matter and a reduction in glial scarring. Wild-type mice treated with APC acutely after injury showed a similar level of improved locomotor recovery to that of PAR-1 null mice. However, improvement of APC-treated PAR-1 null mice was indistinguishable from that of vehicle-treated PAR-1 null mice, suggesting that APC acts through PAR-1. Collectively, our findings define a detrimental role of thrombin-activated PAR-1 in wound healing and further validate APC, also acting through the PAR-1 by biased agonism, as a promising therapeutic target for spinal cord injury.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)