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Overall Role of Contactins Expression in Neurodevelopmental Events and Contribution to Neurological Disorders

The specific aim of the present study concerns the FA molecular and cellular substrates, for which available transgenic mice models are proposed, including mutants undergoing misexpression of adhesive/morphoregulatory proteins, in particular belonging to the Contactin subset of the immunoglobulin supergene family. In both mutant and control mice, neurogenesis was explored by morphological/morphometric analysis through the expression of cell type-specific markers, including -tubulin, the Contactin-1 axonal adhesive glycoprotein, as well as the Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein (GFAP). Specific consequences were found to arise from the chosen misexpression approach, consisting of a neuronal developmental delay associated with glial upregulation. Protective effects against the arising phenotype resulted from antioxidants (essentially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG)) administration, which was demonstrated through the profiles of neuronal (-tubulin and Contactin 1) as well as glial (GFAP) markers, in turn indicating the concomitant activation of neurodegeneration and neuro repair processes. The latter also implied activation of the Notch-1 signaling. Overall, this study supports the significance of changes in morphoregulatory proteins expression in the FA pathogenesis and of antioxidant administration in counteracting it, which, in turn, allows to devise potential therapeutic approaches.

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