Publication date: Oct 02, 2019
A protein known as nuclear factor I-A (NFIA) is key for spinal cord repair and timely remyelination by astrocytes – the most abundant cells in the brain and first responders to sites of injury, findings in a mouse model of multiple sclerosis (MS) suggest. In brain lesions, NFIA is also essential to generating reactive astrocytes, the state these cells assume when responding either to acute injury or to neurodegeneration due to chronic disease. When they eliminated NFIA in mice astrocytes, they observed that, in the spinal cord, reactive astrocytes were generated and migrated toward the injury, but did not repair the damaged blood-brain barrier – a barrier shielding the brain from peripheral blood circulation. -These findings suggest that NFIA’s function in reactive astrocytes is dependent upon the type of injury and brain region in which the injury occurs. Results also showed no thrombospondin 4 (THBS4), key for the generation of reactive astrocytes, in the SVZ and other brain regions of mice lacking NFIA. -Although our study was conducted in mice and more research is needed, we think our findings may reflect what occurs in people, as NFIA also is abundantly present in reactive astrocytes in both pediatric and adult neurological injuries,” Deneen said.