Research Papers:

The p75 neurotrophin receptor regulates cranial irradiation-induced hippocampus-dependent cognitive dysfunction

Xin Ding, Hao-Hao Wu, Sheng-Jun Ji, Shang Cai, Pei-Wen Dai, Mei-Ling Xu, Jun-Jun Zhang, Qi-Xian Zhang, Ye Tian _ and Quan-Hong Ma

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:40544-40557. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.16492

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Xin Ding1,2,3,*, Hao-Hao Wu1,2,3,*, Sheng-Jun Ji1,4, Shang Cai1,2,3, Pei-Wen Dai1,2,3, Mei-Ling Xu1,2,3, Jun-Jun Zhang1,2,3, Qi-Xian Zhang1,2,3, Ye Tian1,2,3 and Quan-Hong Ma5

1Department of Radiotherapy & Oncology, The Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University, Suzhou, China

2Institute of Radiotherapy & Oncology, Soochow University, Suzhou, China

3Suzhou Key Laboratory for Radiation Oncology, Suzhou, China

4Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology, Nanjing Medical University Affiliated Suzhou Hospital, Suzhou, China

5Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Translational Research and Therapy for Neuro-Psycho-Diseases and Institute of Neuroscience, Soochow University, Suzhou, China

*Co-first author

Correspondence to:

Ye Tian, email: [email protected]

Keywords: hippocampus, cognitive dysfunction, neurogenesis, dendritic spine, p75NTR

Received: October 24, 2016     Accepted: February 22, 2017     Published: March 23, 2017


Cognitive deficits, characterized by progressive problems with hippocampus-dependent learning, memory and spatial processing, are the most serious complication of cranial irradiation. However, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. The p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR) is involved in a diverse arrays of cellular responses, including neurite outgrowth, neurogenesis, and negative regulation of spine density, which are associated with various neurological disorders. In this study, male Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats received 10 Gy cranial irradiation. Then, we evaluated the expression of p75NTR in the hippocampus after cranial irradiation and explored its potential role in radiation-induced synaptic dysfunction and memory deficits. We found that the expression of p75NTR was significantly increased in the irradiated rat hippocampus. Knockdown of p75NTR by intrahippocampal infusion of AAV8-shp75 ameliorated dendritic spine abnormalities, and restored synapse-related protein levels, thus preventing memory deficits, likely through normalization the phosphor-AKT activity. Moreover, viral-mediated overexpression of p75NTR in the normal hippocampus reproduced learning and memory deficits. Overall, this study demonstrates that p75NTR is an important mediator of irradiation-induced cognitive deficits by regulating dendritic development and synapse structure.

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