The immune system has garnered attention for its role in peripheral nerve regeneration, particularly as it pertains to regeneration across segmental injuries. Previous work demonstrated that eosinophils are recruited to regenerating nerve and express interleukin-4, amongst potential cytokines. These results suggest a direct role for eosinophils in promoting nerve regeneration. Therefore, we further considered eosinophils roles in nerve regeneration using a segmental nerve injury and Gata1 knockout (KO) mice, which are severely eosinophil deficient, compared to wild-type BALB/c mice (WT). Mice receiving a sciatic nerve gap injury demonstrated distinct cytokine expression and leukocytes within regenerating nerve. Compared to controls, Gata1 KO regenerated nerves contained decreased expression of type 2 cytokines, including Il-5 and Il-13, and decreased recruitment of eosinophils and macrophages. At this early time point during ongoing regeneration, the macrophages within Gata1 KO nerves also demonstrated significantly less M2 polarization compared to controls. Subsequently, motor and sensory axon regeneration across the gap injury was decreased in Gata1 KO compared to WT during ongoing nerve regeneration. Over longer observation to allow for more complete nerve regeneration, behavioral recovery measured by grid-walk assessment was not different comparing groups but modestly delayed in Gata1 KO compared to WT. The extent of final axon regeneration was not different amongst groups. Our data provide additional evidence suggesting eosinophils contribute to nerve regeneration across a nerve gap injury, but are not essential to regeneration in this context. Our evidence also suggests eosinophils may regulate cytokines that promote distinct macrophage phenotypes and axon regeneration.
- Functional recovery
- Nerve gap
- Peripheral nerve regeneration