Abstract 2178: Sonic Hedgehog In Adult Hypoxic Cerebellum
Background: Cerebellar hypoxia is responsible for important aspects of cognitive deterioration and motor disturbances in neurological disorders, such as stroke, vascular dementia, and neurodegeneration. In the cerebellum, VEGF is significantly upregulated after hypoxia and is able to induce angiogenesis, reduce neuronal apoptosis, and regulate neuronal differentiation, proliferation, and migration. But, VEGF is not sufficient to provide neuroprotection. A crucial role is played by growth associated protein-43 (GAP43), for which important activities have been described. The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of the developmental Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathway in postnatal hypoxic cerebellum and its relationship with VEGF and GAP43 expression.
Methods: We used adult C57BL/6J mice, ptc1-lacZ mice, and GAP43−/− mice for these experiments. Ptc1-lacZ mice carry a non-disruptive insertion of the lacZ gene under the control of the ptc1 promoter. Ptc1 is a downstream-transcriptional target of Shh and its upregulation indicates activation of the Shh pathway. Mice were exposed to systemic normobaric hypoxia (6%O2) for 6 hours and the expression of Shh, Ptc1, VEGF, and GAP43 were investigated.
Results: After exposure to hypoxia, Shh-positive staining was detected in Purkinje cells (PCs). The same cells were also lacZ(ptc1)-positive, indicating that PCs are both Shh-producing and -responding elements. Also the cells of the internal granular layer (IGL) were lacZ(ptc1)-positive, indicating that these cells are Shh-responsive. LacZ(ptc1)-positive IGL cells were also immunopositive for VEGF and GAP-43. We also found that ptc1 expression is lost in PCs of GAP43−/− mice, indicating that Shh requires GAP43 to activate its downstream target genes in PCs. Finally, when cultures enriched in granular cells were stimulated with Shh recombinant protein, GAP43 phosphorylation was increased. This effect was inhibited by Shh-inhibitor cyclopamine.
Conclusions: This is the first time that hypoxia is reported to activate the Shh pathway in the adult. Our data suggest that the Shh pathway might be important for the cerebellar response to hypoxia, through interactions with VEGF and GAP43.