Despite the emerging role of protein tyrosine kinase 7 (PTK7) as a Wnt co-receptor and the relevant functions of the Wnt family of proteins in spinal cord injury (SCI), the potential involvement of PTK7 in SCI is currently unknown. As a first essential step to shed light on this issue, we evaluated the spatio-temporal and cellular expression patterns of PTK7 in healthy and traumatically injured rat and human spinal cords. In the uninjured rats, PTK7 expression was observed in the ependymal epithelium, endothelial cells, meningeal fibronectin-expressing cells, and specific axonal tracts, but not in microglia, astrocytes, neurons, oligodendrocytes, or NG2+ cells. After rat SCI, the mRNA expression of PTK7 was significantly increased, while its spatio-temporal and cellular protein expression patterns also suffered evident changes in the injured region. Briefly, the expression of PTK7 in the affected areas was observed in axons, reactive astrocytes, NG2+ and fibronectin-expressing cells, and in a subpopulation of reactive microglia/macrophages and blood vessels. Finally, in both healthy and traumatically injured human spinal cords, PTK7 expression pattern was similar to that observed in the rat, although some specific differences were found. In conclusion, we demonstrate for the first time that PTK7 is constitutively expressed in the healthy adult rat and human spinal cord and that its expression pattern clearly varied after rat and human SCI which, to our knowledge, constitutes the first experimental evidence pointing to the potential involvement of this co-receptor in physiological and pathological spinal cord functioning.
- Spinal cord
- Spinal cord injury
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cell Biology