Ectopic Muscle Expression of Neurotrophic Factors Improves Recovery After Nerve Injury

Micaela Johanna Glat, Felix Benninger, Yael Barhum, Tali Ben-Zur, Elena Kogan, Israel Steiner, David Yaffe, Daniel Offen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Sciatic nerve damage is a common medical problem. The main causes include direct trauma, prolonged external nerve compression, and pressure from disk herniation. Possible complications include leg numbness and the loss of motor control. In mild cases, conservative treatment is feasible. However, following severe injury, recovery may not be possible. Neuronal regeneration, survival, and maintenance can be achieved by neurotrophic factors (NTFs). In this study, we examined the potency of combining brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), glial-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) on the recovery of motor neuron function after crush injury of the sciatic nerve. We show that combined NTF application increases the survival of motor neurons exposed to a hypoxic environment. The ectopic expression of NTFs in the injured muscle improves the recovery of the sciatic nerve after crush injury. A significantly faster recovery of compound muscle action potential (CMAP) amplitude and conduction velocity is observed after muscle injections of viral vectors expressing a mixture of the four NTF genes. Our findings suggest a rationale for using genetic treatment with a combination of NTF-expressing vectors, as a potential therapeutic approach for severe peripheral nerve injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Molecular Neuroscience
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016


  • Compound muscle action potential (CMAP)
  • Conduction velocity
  • Nerve injury
  • Neurotrophic factors


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