Daily Archives: December 26, 2011
Scientists develop new methods for the study of spinal cord injury After spinal cord injury nerve fibers do not regenerate by themselves; loss of neuronal function up to complete paralysis is the consequence. When investigating new potential therapies, scientists are often confronted with an experimental problem: Neurons are embedded deep into the tissue of the spinal cord and thus difficult to access with microscopy methods. Scientists around Professor Frank Bradke, German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE), have now met this experimental challenge with the development of a new technology.
(Medical Xpress) — In the event of the spinal cord injury, the long nerve cell filaments, the axons, may become severed. For quite some time now, scientists have been investigating whether these axons can be stimulated to regenerate. Such growth takes place on a scale of only a few millimetres. To date, changes like this could be determined only by cutting the tissue in question into wafer-thin slices and examining these under a microscope. However, the two-dimensional sections provide only an inaccurate picture of the spatial distribution and progression of the cells. Together with an international team, scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried have now developed a new method by virtue of which single nerve cells can be both examined in intact tissue and portrayed in all three dimensions.