Insights into the suitability of utilizing brown rats (Rattus norvegicus) as a model for healing spinal cord injury with epidermal growth factor and fibroblast growth factor-II by predicting protein-protein interactions


The stimulation of the proliferation and differentiation of neural stem cells (NSCs) offers the possibility of a renewable source of replacement cells to treat numerous neurological diseases including spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and stroke. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) and fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) have been used to stimulate NSCs to renew, expand, and produce precursors for neural repair within an adult brown rat (Rattus norvegicus). To provide greater insight into the interspecies protein-protein interactions between human FGF-2 and EGF proteins and native R. norvegicus proteins, we have utilized the Massively Parallel Protein-Protein Interaction Prediction Engine (MP-PIPE) in an attempt to computationally shed light on the pathways potentially driving neurosphere proliferation. This study determined similar and differing protein interaction pathways between the two growth factors and the proteins in R. norvegicus compared with the proteins in H. sapiens. The protein-protein interactions predicted that EGF and FGF-2 may behave differently in rats than in humans. The identification and improved understanding of these differences may help to improve the clinical translation of NSC therapies from rats to humans.

Computers in Biology and Medicine