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Nerve injury

Calpastatin; calpain

In vitro and mouse studies suggest calpastatin, an inhibitor of the proteinase calpain, could help treat nerve injury. In cultured mouse dorsal root ganglion (DRG) explants, lentiviral-mediated overexpression of calpastatin decreased injury-induced nerve degeneration compared with overexpression of a control gene. In nerve growth factor (NGF)-deprived mouse DRG cells, shRNA knockdown of calpastatin accelerated axon degeneration. In a mouse model of optic nerve injury, adenoviral-mediated overexpression of calpastatin in injured retinal ganglion cells decreased the rate of nerve degeneration compared with overexpression of a control gene. Next steps could include testing calpastatin in additional models of nerve injury and optimizing its delivery.
The study was supported in part by the Genentech Inc. unit of Roche.

SciBX 7(1); doi:10.1038/scibx.2014.27
Published online Jan. 9, 2014

Unpatented; licensing status not applicable

Yang, J. et al. Neuron; published online Nov. 7, 2013;
Contact: Marc Tessier-Lavigne, The Rockefeller University, New York, N.Y.