The role of p53, p63 and p73 in the survival of oligodendrocytes following spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injury can be characterized into two broad pathological events known as the primary injury, typically a blunt force trauma, and the secondary injury, an ensuing degradation of both neurons and glial cells. The secondary injury is characterized by vascular alterations, poor blood flow, production of free radicals, oxidative stress, ionic imbalance, inflammation and excitotoxicity, which has a very large impact of the survival of oligodendrocytes, the cells responsible for myelination in central nervous system. These event occur days to weeks following the injury making them suitable for pharmacological intervention. Recent work has implicated p53 and p63 as pro-apoptotic (programed cell death) and p73 as antiapoptotic for neurons. Using animals which are absent of these factors specifically in oligodendrocytes, I wish to examine their affect on the survival and apoptosis of oligodendrocyte following a spinal cord injury. I also wish to correlate this difference in oligodendrocyte survival and apoptosis to the behavioural outcome of these animals. This will enable the validation of p53, p63, and p73 as targets to promote survival of oligodedrocytes following spinal cord injury. lf that is the case, it would suggest the need to develop novel treatments that target these proteins for potenetial future clinical application.