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Cleavage of Na+ channels by calpain increases persistent Na+ current and promotes spasticity after spinal cord injury

Abstract : Upregulation of the persistent sodium current (INaP) in motoneurons contributes to spasticity following spinal cord injury (SCI). We investigated the mechanisms that regulate INaP and observed elevated expression of Nav1.6 channels in spinal lumbar motoneurons of adult rats with SCI. Furthermore, immunoblot revealed a proteolysis of Nav channels and biochemical assays identified calpain as the main proteolytic factor. Calpain-dependent cleavage of Nav channels following neonatal SCI was associated with an upregulation of INaP in motoneurons. Likewise, calpain-dependent cleavage of Nav1.6 channels expressed in HEK-293 cells caused elevation of INaP. Pharmacological inhibition of calpain by MDL28170 reduced the cleavage of Nav channels, INaP in motoneurons and spasticity in rats with SCI. Similarly, blockade of INaP by riluzole alleviated spasticity. This study demonstrates that Nav channel expression in lumbar motoneurons is altered after SCI and shows a tight relationship between the calpain-dependent proteolysis of Nav1.6 channels, the upregulation of INaP and spasticity.
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Cécile Brocard, Vanessa Plantier, Pascale Boulenguez, Sylvie Liabeuf, Mouloud Bouhadfane, et al.. Cleavage of Na+ channels by calpain increases persistent Na+ current and promotes spasticity after spinal cord injury. Nature Medicine, Nature Publishing Group, 2016, 22 (4), pp.404-411. ⟨10.1038/nm.4061⟩. ⟨hal-01463798⟩

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