Cellular mechanisms associated with spontaneous and ciliary neurotrophic factor-cAMP-induced survival and axonal regeneration of adult retinal ganglion cells

Kevin Park, Jian Min Luo, Susan Hisheh, Alan R. Harvey, Qi Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations


We have shown previously that intraocular elevation of cAMP using the cAMP analog 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-cAMP (CPT-cAMP) failed to promote axonal regeneration of axotomized adult retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) into peripheral nerve (PN) grafts but significantly potentiated ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF)-induced axonal regeneration. Using the PN graft model, we now examine the mechanisms underlying spontaneous and CNTF/CPT-cAMP-induced neuronal survival and axonal regrowth. We found that blockade of the cAMP pathway executor protein kinase A (PKA) using the cell-permeable inhibitor KT5720 did not affect spontaneous survival and axonal regeneration but essentially abolished the CNTF/CPT-cAMP-induced RGC survival and axonal regeneration. Blockade of CNTF signaling pathways such as phosphotidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/akt by 2-(4-morpholinyl)-8-phenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one (LY294002), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) by 2-(2-diamino-3-methoxyphenyl-4H-1-benzopyran-4-one (PD98059), or Janus kinase (JAK)/signal transducer and activators of transcription (STAT3) by tyrphostin AG490 also blocked the CNTF/CPT-cAMP-dependent survival and regeneration effects. PKA activity assay and Western blots showed that KT5720, LY294002, and PD98059 almost completely inhibited PKA, PI3K/akt, and MAPK/ERK signal transduction, respectively, whereas AG490 substantially decreased JAK/STAT3 signal transduction. Intraocular injection of CPT-cAMP resulted in a small PKA-dependent increase in CNTF receptor α mRNA expression in the retinas, an effect that may facilitate CNTF action on survival and axonal regeneration. Surprisingly, in the absence of CNTF/CPT-cAMP, LY294002, PD98059, and AG490, but not KT5720, significantly enhanced spontaneous RGC survival, suggesting differential roles of these pathways in RGC survival under different conditions. Our data suggest that CNTF/ CPT-cAMP-induced RGC survival and axonal regeneration are a result of multiple pathway actions, with PKA as an essential component, but that these pathways can function in an antagonistic manner under different conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10806-10815
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • cAMP
  • Ciliary neurotrophic factor
  • Janus kinase
  • Mitogen-activated protein kinase
  • Phosphotidylinositol 3-kinase
  • Protein kinase A

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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