The CCL2/CCR2 axis is critical to recruiting macrophages into acellular nerve allograft bridging a nerve gap to promote angiogenesis and regeneration

Deng Pan, Jesús A. Acevedo-Cintrón, Junichi Sayanagi, Alison K. Snyder-Warwick, Susan E. Mackinnon, Matthew D. Wood. Experimental Neurology, Volume 331, September 2020, Article number 113363 Read More


Acellular nerve allografts (ANAs) are increasingly used to repair nerve gaps following injuries. However, these nerve scaffolds have yet to surpass the regenerative capabilities of cellular nerve autografts; improved understanding of their regenerative mechanisms could improve design. Due to their acellular nature, both angiogenesis and diverse cell recruitment is necessary to repopulate these scaffolds to promote functional regeneration. We determined the contribution of angiogenesis to initial cellular repopulation of ANAs used to repair nerve gaps, as well as the signaling that drives a significant portion of this angiogenesis. Wild-type (WT) mice with nerve gaps repaired using ANAs that were treated with an inhibitor of VEGF receptor signaling severely impaired angiogenesis within ANAs, as well as hampered cell repopulation and axon extension into ANAs. Similarly, systemic depletion of hematogenous-derived macrophages, but not neutrophils, in these mice models severely impeded angiogenesis and subsequent nerve regeneration across ANAs suggesting hematogenous-derived macrophages were major contributors to angiogenesis within ANAs. This finding was reinforced using CCR2 knockout (KO) models. As macrophages represented the majority of CCR2 expressing cells, a CCR2 deficiency impaired angiogenesis and subsequent nerve regeneration across ANAs. Furthermore, an essential role for CCL2 during nerve regeneration across ANAs was identified, as nerves repaired using ANAs had reduced angiogenesis and subsequent nerve regeneration in CCL2 KO vs WT mice. Our data demonstrate the CCL2/CCR2 axis is important for macrophage recruitment, which promotes angiogenesis, cell repopulation, and subsequent nerve regeneration and recovery across ANAs used to repair nerve gaps. © 2020 Elsevier Inc.

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Posted on June 5, 2020
Posted in: Axon Injury & Repair, Publications Authors: , ,