Hanslik Kendra

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  • Article
    Regenerative capacity in the lamprey spinal cord is not altered after a repeated transection
    (Public Library of Science, 2019-01-30) Hanslik, Kendra ; Allen, Scott R. ; Harkenrider, Tessa L. ; Fogerson, Stephanie M. ; Guadarrama, Eduardo ; Morgan, Jennifer R.
    The resilience of regeneration in vertebrates is not very well understood. Yet understanding if tissues can regenerate after repeated insults, and identifying limitations, is important for elucidating the underlying mechanisms of tissue plasticity. This is particularly challenging in tissues, such as the nervous system, which possess a large number of terminally differentiated cells and often exhibit limited regeneration in the first place. However, unlike mammals, which exhibit very limited regeneration of spinal cord tissues, many non-mammalian vertebrates, including lampreys, bony fishes, amphibians, and reptiles, regenerate their spinal cords and functionally recover even after a complete spinal cord transection. It is well established that lampreys undergo full functional recovery of swimming behaviors after a single spinal cord transection, which is accompanied by tissue repair at the lesion site, as well as axon and synapse regeneration. Here we begin to explore the resilience of spinal cord regeneration in lampreys after a second spinal transection (re-transection). We report that by all functional and anatomical measures tested, lampreys regenerate after spinal re-transection just as robustly as after single transections. Recovery of swimming, synapse and cytoskeletal distributions, axon regeneration, and neuronal survival were nearly identical after spinal transection or re-transection. Only minor differences in tissue repair at the lesion site were observed in re-transected spinal cords. Thus, regenerative potential in the lamprey spinal cord is largely unaffected by spinal re-transection, indicating a greater persistent regenerative potential than exists in some other highly regenerative models. These findings establish a new path for uncovering pro-regenerative targets that could be deployed in non-regenerative conditions.
  • Article
    GABA promotes survival and axonal regeneration in identifiable descending neurons after spinal cord injury in larval lampreys
    (Nature Publishing Group, 2018-06-28) Romaus-Sanjurjo, Daniel ; Ledo-García, Rocío ; Fernández-López, Blanca ; Hanslik, Kendra ; Morgan, Jennifer R. ; Barreiro-Iglesias, Antón ; Rodicio, María Celina
    The poor regenerative capacity of descending neurons is one of the main causes of the lack of recovery after spinal cord injury (SCI). Thus, it is of crucial importance to find ways to promote axonal regeneration. In addition, the prevention of retrograde degeneration leading to the atrophy/death of descending neurons is an obvious prerequisite to activate axonal regeneration. Lampreys show an amazing regenerative capacity after SCI. Recent histological work in lampreys suggested that GABA, which is massively released after a SCI, could promote the survival of descending neurons. Here, we aimed to study if GABA, acting through GABAB receptors, promotes the survival and axonal regeneration of descending neurons of larval sea lampreys after a complete SCI. First, we used in situ hybridization to confirm that identifiable descending neurons of late-stage larvae express the gabab1 subunit of the GABAB receptor. We also observed an acute increase in the expression of this subunit in descending neurons after SCI, which further supported the possible role of GABA and GABAB receptors in promoting the survival and regeneration of these neurons. So, we performed gain and loss of function experiments to confirm this hypothesis. Treatments with GABA and baclofen (GABAB agonist) significantly reduced caspase activation in descending neurons 2 weeks after a complete SCI. Long-term treatments with GABOB (a GABA analogue) and baclofen significantly promoted axonal regeneration of descending neurons after SCI. These data indicate that GABAergic signalling through GABAB receptors promotes the survival and regeneration of descending neurons after SCI. Finally, we used morpholinos against the gabab1 subunit to knockdown the expression of the GABAB receptor in descending neurons. Long-term morpholino treatments caused a significant inhibition of axonal regeneration. This shows that endogenous GABA promotes axonal regeneration after a complete SCI in lampreys by activating GABAB receptors.