Background and Purpose: Exosomes play a pivotal role in neurogenesis. In the peri-infarct area after stroke, axons begin to regenerate but are inhibited by astrocyte scar formation. The direct effect and underlying molecular mechanisms of astrocyte-derived exosomes on axonal outgrowth after ischemia are not known. Methods: Using a semaphorin 3A (Sema3A) inhibitor, we explored neuronal signaling during axonal outgrowth after ischemia in rats subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion and in cultured cortical neurons challenged with oxygen-glucose deprivation. Furthermore, we assessed whether this inhibitor suppressed astrocyte activation and regulated astrocyte-derived exosomes to enhance axonal outgrowth after ischemia. Results: In rats subjected to middle cerebral artery occlusion, we administered a Sema3A inhibitor into the peri-infarct area from 7 to 21 days after occlusion. We found that phosphorylated high-molecular weight neurofilament-immunoreactive axons were increased, glial fibrillary acidic protein-immunoreactive astrocytes were decreased, and functional recovery was promoted at 28 days after middle cerebral artery occlusion. In cultured neurons, the Sema3A inhibitor decreased Rho family GTPase 1, increased R-Ras, which phosphorylates Akt and glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK-3β), selectively increased phosphorylated GSK-3β in axons, and thereby enhanced phosphorylated high-molecular weight neurofilament-immunoreactive axons after oxygen-glucose deprivation. In cultured astrocytes, the Sema3A inhibitor suppressed activation of astrocytes induced by oxygen-glucose deprivation. Exosomes secreted from ischemic astrocytes treated with the Sema3A inhibitor further promoted axonal elongation and increased prostaglandin D2 synthase expression on microarray analysis. GSK-3β+ and prostaglandin D2 synthase+ neurons were robustly increased after treatment with the Sema3A inhibitor in the peri-infarct area. Conclusions: Neuronal Rho family GTPase 1/R-Ras/Akt/GSK-3β signaling, axonal GSK-3β expression, and astrocyte-derived exosomes with prostaglandin D2 synthase expression contribute to axonal outgrowth and functional recovery after stroke.
ASJC Scopus subject areas