Hindbrain raphe stimulation boosts cyclic adenosine monophosphate and signaling proteins in the injured spinal cord

Melissa M. Carballosa-Gonzalez, Alberto Vitores, Ian D. Hentall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Early recovery from incomplete spinal cord contusion is improved by prolonged stimulation of the hindbrain's serotonergic nucleus raphe magnus (NRM). Here we examine whether increases in cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), an intracellular signaling molecule with several known restorative actions on damaged neural tissue, could play a role. Subsequent changes in cAMP-dependent phosphorylation of protein kinase A (PKA) and PKA-dependent phosphorylation of the transcription factor "cAMP response element-binding protein" (CREB) are also analyzed. Rats with moderate weight-drop injury at segment T8 received 2 h of NRM stimulation beginning three days after injury, followed immediately by separate extraction of cervical, thoracic and lumbar spinal cord for immunochemical assay. Controls lacked injury, stimulation or both. Injury reduced cAMP levels to under half of normal in all three spinal regions. NRM stimulation completely restored these levels, while producing no significant change in non-injured rats. Pretreatment with the 5-HT7 receptor antagonist pimozide (1 mg/kg, intraperitoneal) lowered cAMP in non-injured rats to injury amounts, which were unchanged by NRM stimulation. The phosphorylated fraction of PKA (pPKA) and CREB (pCREB) was reduced significantly in all three regions after SCI and restored by NRM stimulation, except for pCREB in lumbar segments. In conclusion, SCI produces spreading deficits in cAMP, pPKA and pCREB that are reversible by Gs protein-coupled 5-HT receptors responding to raphe-spinal activity, although these signaling molecules are not reactive to NRM stimulation in normal tissue. These findings can partly explain the benefits of NRM stimulation after SCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-172
Number of pages8
JournalBrain research
StatePublished - Jan 16 2014


  • cAMP
  • CREB
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • PKA
  • Raphe magnus
  • Rat
  • Repair
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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