Matrix-mediated gene transfer to brain cortex and dorsal root ganglion neurones by retrograde axonal transport after dorsal column lesion

Ana Gonzalez, Martin Berry, L Greenlees, Ann Logan, Andrew Baird

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: In previous studies, we showed that the immobilisation of DNAs encoding basic fibroblast growth factor, neurotrophin-3 and brain-derived neurotrophic factor in a gene-activated matrix (GAM) promotes sustained survival of axotomised retinal ganglion cells after optic nerve injury. Here, we evaluated if the immobilisation of DNAs in a GAM could be an effective approach to deliver genes to axotomised dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurones after spinal cord injury and if the matrix component of the GAM would modulate the deposition of a dense scar at the injury site. METHODS: We evaluated the expression of the thymidine kinase (TK) reporter gene in brain cortex and DRG after a bilateral T8 dorsal column (DC) lesion using PCR, RT-PCR and in situ hybridisation analyses. Collagen-based GAMs were implanted at the lesion site and the cellular response to the GAM was assessed using cell-specific markers. RESULTS: At 1 week post-injury, PCR analyses confirmed that DNATK was retrogradely transported from the DC lesion where the GAM was implanted to the brain cortex and to caudal DRG neurones, and RT-PCR analyses showed expression of mRNATK. At 7 weeks post-injury, DNATK was still be detected in the GAM and DRG. In situ hybridisation localised DNATK and mRNATK within fibroblasts, glia, endothelial and inflammatory cells invading the GAM and in DRG neurones. Interestingly, the presence of a GAM also reduced secondary cavitation and scar deposition at the lesion site. CONCLUSIONS: These results establish that GAMs act as bridging scaffolds in DC lesions limiting cavitation and scarring and delivering genes both locally to injury-reactive cells and distally to the cerebral cortex and to DRG neuronal somata through retrograde axonal transport.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-909
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Gene Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2006


  • gene therapy
  • retrograde axonal transport
  • dorsal root ganglion neurones
  • matrix
  • CNS
  • spinal cord injury


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