Chaballe L, Close P, Sempels M, Delstanche S, Fanielle J, Moons L, Carmeliet P, Schoenen J, Chariot A, Franzen R
Wallerian degeneration (WD) is an inflammatory process of nerve degeneration, which occurs more rapidly in the peripheral nervous system compared with the central nervous system, resulting, respectively in successful and aborted axon regeneration. In the peripheral nervous system, Schwann cells (SCs) and macrophages, under the control of a network of cytokines and chemokines, represent the main cell types involved in this process. Within this network, the role of placental growth factor (PlGF) remains totally unknown. However, properties like monocyte activation/attraction, ability to increase expression of pro-inflammatory molecules, as well as neuroprotective effects, make it a candidate likely implicated in this process. Also, nothing is described about the expression and localization of this molecule in the peripheral nervous system. To address these original questions, we decided to study PlGF expression under physiological and degenerative conditions and to explore its role in WD, using a model of sciatic nerve transection in wild-type and Pgf(-/-) mice. Our data show dynamic changes of PlGF expression, from periaxonal in normal nerve to SCs 24h postinjury, in parallel with a p65/NF-κB recruitment on Pgf promoter. After injury, SC proliferation is reduced by 30% in absence of PlGF. Macrophage invasion is significantly delayed in Pgf(-/-) mice compared with wild-type mice, which results in worse functional recovery. MCP-1 and proMMP-9 exhibit a 3-fold reduction of their relative expressions in Pgf(-/-) injured nerves, as demonstrated by cytokine array. In conclusion, this work originally describes PlGF as a novel member of the cytokine network of WD.