Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Anatomy & Neurobiology

First Advisor

Linda Phillips


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) produces axonal damage and deafferentation, triggering injury-induced synaptogenesis, a process influenced by matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and their substrates. Here we report results of studies examining the expression and potential role of two membrane-bound MMPs, membrane-type 5-MMP (MT5-MMP) and a disintegrin and metalloproteinase-10 (ADAM-10), along with their common synaptic substrate N-cadherin, during the period of reactive synaptogenesis. Protein and mRNA expression of MT5-MMP, ADAM-10 and N-cadherin were compared in two TBI models, one exhibiting adaptive plasticity (unilateral entorhinal cortex lesion; UEC) and the other maladaptive plasticity (fluid percussion injury + bilateral EC lesions; TBI+BEC), targeting 2, 7, and 15d postinjury intervals. In adaptive UEC plasticity, membrane-bound MMP expression was elevated during synaptic degeneration (2d) and regeneration (7d), and normalized at 15d. By contrast, N-cadherin expression was significantly decreased at 2 and 7d after UEC, but increased during 15d synaptic stabilization. In maladaptive plasticity, 2d membrane-bound MMP expression was dampened compared to UEC, with persistent ADAM-10 elevation and reduced N-cadherin protein level at 15d. These results were supported by 7d microarray and qRT-PCR analyses, which showed transcript shifts in both hippocampus and dentate molecular layer (ML) for each model. Parallel immunohistochemistry revealed significant MT5-MMP, ADAM-10 and N-cadherin localization within ML reactive astrocytes, suggesting a glial synthetic or phagocytotic role for their processing during recovery. We also investigated the effect of MMP inhibition on molecular, electrophysiological, behavioral and structural outcome at 15d following TBI+BEC. MMP inhibitor GM6001 was administered at 6 and 7d postinjury, during elevated MT5-MMP/ADAM-10 expression and synapse regeneration. MMP inhibition showed: 1) reduced ADAM-10 and elevated N-cadherin protein expression, generating profiles similar to 15d post-UEC, 2) attenuation of deficits in the initiation phase of long-term potentiation, and 3) improved hippocampal dendritic and synaptic ultrastructure. Collectively, our results provide evidence that membrane-bound MMPs and N-cadherin influence both adaptive and maladaptive plasticity in a time and injury-dependent manner. Inhibition of membrane-bound MMPs during maladaptive plasticity produces more adaptive conditions, improving synaptic efficacy and structure. Thus, targeting MMP function and expression have potential to translate maladaptive plasticity into an adaptive process, facilitating improved recovery.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

August 2010