Cell Transplant.Jan-Dec 2020;29:963689720950226.doi: 10.1177/0963689720950226.

6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase Suppresses Neuronal Apoptosis by Increasing Glycolysis and “cyclin-dependent kinase 1-Mediated Phosphorylation of p27 After Traumatic Spinal Cord Injury in Rats

Liansheng Gao  1 Chun Wang  1 Bing Qin  1 Tao Li  1 Weilin Xu  1 Cameron Lenahan  2 Guangyu Ying  1 Jianru Li  1 Tengfei Zhao  3 Yongjian Zhu  1 Gao Chen  1 Affiliations

Free PMC article


Apoptosis is a vital pathological factor that accounts for the poor prognosis of traumatic spinal cord injury (t-SCI). The 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase (PFKFB3) is a critical regulator for energy metabolism and proven to have antiapoptotic effects. This study aimed to investigate the neuroprotective role of PFKFB3 in t-SCI. A compressive clip was introduced to establish the t-SCI model. Herein, we identified that PFKFB3 was extensively distributed in neurons, and PFKFB3 levels significantly increased and peaked 24 h after t-SCI. Additionally, knockdown of PFKFB3 inhibited glycolysis, accompanied by aggravated neuronal apoptosis and white matter injury, while pharmacological activation of PFKFB3 with meclizine significantly enhanced glycolysis, attenuated t-SCI-induced spinal cord injury, and alleviated neurological impairment. The PFKFB3 agonist, meclizine, activated cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) and promoted the phosphorylation of p27, ultimately suppressing neuronal apoptosis. However, the neuroprotective effects of meclizine against t-SCI were abolished by the CDK1 antagonist, RO3306. In summary, our data demonstrated that PFKFB3 contributes robust neuroprotection against t-SCI by enhancing glycolysis and modulating CDK1-related antiapoptotic signals. Moreover, targeting PFKFB3 may be a novel and promising therapeutic strategy for t-SCI.

Keywords: PFKFB3; glycolysis; meclizine; neuronal apoptosis; traumatic spinal cord injury.