Scientific reports

The transcriptional landscape of dorsal root ganglia after sciatic nerve transection.

PMID 26576491


Following peripheral nerve injury, transcriptional responses are orchestrated to regulate the expression of numerous genes in the lesioned nerve, thus activating the intrinsic regeneration program. To better understand the molecular regulation of peripheral nerve regeneration, we aimed at investigating the transcriptional landscape of dorsal root ganglia (DRGs) after sciatic nerve transection in rats. The cDNA microarray analysis was used to identify thousands of genes that were differentially expressed at different time points post nerve injury (PNI). The results from Euclidean distance matrix, principal component analysis, and hierarchical clustering indicated that 2 nodal transitions in temporal gene expressions could segregate 3 distinct transcriptional phases within the period of 14 d PNI. The 3 phases were designated as "a stress response phase", "a pre-regeneration phase", and "a regeneration phase", respectively, by referring to morphological observation of post-nerve-injury changes. The gene ontology (GO) analysis revealed the distinct features of biological process, cellular component, and molecular function at each transcriptional phase. Moreover, Ingenuity Pathway Analysis suggested that differentially expressed genes, mainly transcription factors and genes associated with neurite/axon growth, might be integrated into regulatory networks to mediate the regulation of peripheral nerve regeneration in a highly cooperative manner.