Tag: glial scar
The healing ability of the central nervous system is very limited and injuries to the brain or spinal cord often result in permanent functional deficits. Researchers at Karolinska Institutet report in the scientific journal Cell that they have found an important mechanism that explains why this happens. Using this new knowledge, they were able to improve functional recovery following spinal cord injury in mice.
In many organs, damaged tissue can be repaired by generating new cells of the type that were lost.
There is currently no cure for spinal cord injury or treatment to help nerve regeneration so therapies offering intervention are limited. People with severe spinal cord injuries can remain paralysed for life and this is often accompanied by incontinence.
A team led by Drs Liang-Fong Wong and Nicolas Granger from Bristol’s Faculty of Health Sciences has successfully transplanted genetically modified cells that secrete a treatment molecule shown to be effective at removing the scar following spinal cord damage. The scar in the damaged spinal cord typically limits recovery by blocking nerve regrowth.
UCLA research finds that nerve cells regrow better when glial scarring is left intact
Neuroscientists have long believed that scar tissue formed by glial cells — the cells that surround neurons in the central nervous system — impedes damaged nerve cells from regrowing after a brain or spinal cord injury. So it’s no wonder that researchers have assumed that if they could find a way to remove or counteract that scar tissue, injured neurons might spontaneously repair themselves.
A new study by UCLA scientists now shows that this assumption might have been impeding research on repairing spinal cord injuries.