Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.532, No.4, 576-583, 2020
FBW7 protects against spinal cord injury by mitigating inflammation-associated neuronal apoptosis in mice
Spinal cord injury (SCI) leads to severe and long-lasting neurological disability. Presently, the lack of effective therapies for SCI is largely attributable to an incomplete understanding of its pathogenesis. F-box and WD repeat domain-containing protein 7 (FBW7, also known as FBXW7) is a type of E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, and plays essential roles in regulating different pathological and physiological processes. In this study, we attempted to explore the effects of FBW7 on SCI progression by the in vivo and in vitro experiments. SCI mice showed significantly reduced expression of FBW7 in spinal cord tissues. Promoting FBW7 expression via intrathecal injection of AAV9/FBW7 effectively improved locomotor function in SCI mice. Neuronal death in spinal cords of SCI mice was obviously ameliorated by FBW7 overexpression, along with greatly decreased expression of cleaved Caspase-3. In addition, microglial activation in spinal cord specimens was detected in SCI mice through increasing Iba-1 expression levels, which was, however, attenuated in SCI mice injected with AAV9/FBW7. Additionally, FBW7 overexpression dramatically restrained inflammatory response in spinal cord tissues of SCI mice, as evidenced by the down-regulated expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin 1 beta (IL-1 beta) through blocking the activation of nuclear factor-KB (NF-KB) signaling. These anti-inflammatory effects of FBW7 were confirmed in LPS-stimulated mouse microglial BV2 cells. Finally, our in vitro studies showed that conditional medium (CM) collected from LPS-incubated BV2 cells markedly induced apoptosis in the isolated primary spinal neurons; However, this effect was overtly ameliorated by CM from LPS-exposed BV2 cells over-expressing FBW7. Thus, FBW7-regulated inflammation in microglial cells was involved in the amelioration of neuronal apoptosis during SCI development. Collectively, these findings illustrated that FBW7 expression was down-regulated in spinal cords of SCI mice, and promoting its expression could effectively mitigate SCI progression by repressing microglial inflammation and neuronal death. (C) 2020 Published by Elsevier Inc.