Tag: Nerve Regeneration
“Salamanders are unique because they are one of the only tetrapods able to regrow spinal cords with full functionality,” says Auke Ijspeert, the head of EPFL’s Biorobotics Laboratory. After an injury, these amphibians are able to “magically” regrow their spinal cords and regain locomotion.
A team of scientists led by Ijspeert along with András Simon, a professor at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, and Dimitri Ryczko, an assistant professor at the Université de Sherbrooke’s laboratory of motor control in Canada, is looking into exactly how the process works through a project that has just received a Synergy Grant from the European Research Council.
Dynamic networks that specialize in the transmission of information generally consist of multiple components, including not only primary processors, like computers, for example, but also numerous support applications and services. The human nervous system is fundamentally very similar—neurons, like computers, process and transmit information, sending molecular signals through axons to other neurons, all of which are supported by non-neuronal components, including an array of cells known as glia.
Spinal cord injuries can have lasting and devastating effects on mobility and cognitive function due to permanent nerve cell damage or death. A new study from researchers at Temple University now shows how neuronal connections can be regenerated after such injuries.
Neurons contain structural appendages called axons which form connections with each other throughout the brain and greater parts of the body. These axons form an interconnected communication system that regulates sensory and motor functions; injury to axons can result in their breakage, leading to irreversible damage.
Recently researchers discovered an axon guidance protein known as Plexin B2 in the central nervous system (CNS). During the spinal cord injury, this protein plays a significant role in the healing of the wound and neural repair.
The experiment was designed and conducted by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. This study could help the development of the treatments or therapies which target axon guidance pathways for treating the patients of Spinal cord injury more effectively.
Scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Indiana University School of Medicine report that increasing energy supply within injured spinal cord nerves in mice could help promote axon regrowth and restore some motor functions. The study “Restoring cellular energetics promotes axon regeneration and functional recovery after spinal cord injury,” appears in Cell Metabolism.
Permanent neurological impairments can occur after spinal cord injury (SCI) due to the failure of the spinal cord motor and sensory axons to regenerate.
This is because the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), unlike in some amphibians and reptiles, has inhibitory molecules blocking growth post-development, as well as the lack of an effective regenerative response system. Within the peripheral nervous system (PNS), there is some limited axonal recovery that can occur naturally.
Fresh insights into how Zebrafish repair their damaged nerve connections could aid the development of therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.
Scientists have found the immune system plays a key role in helping Zebrafish nerve cells to regenerate after injury.
The findings offer clues for developing treatments that could one day help people to regain movement after spinal cord injury.
Spinal cord injuries are among the most severe and difficult-to-treat medical conditions, usually resulting in permanent disability including loss of muscle function, sensation and autonomic functions. Medical research is now on the cusp of treating severe spinal cord injuries by inducing the repair of spinal nerves, and scientists have made strides in recent years with rodents and primates.
Using chitosan loaded with neurotrophin-3 (NT3), a collaborative of Chinese medical researchers now reports the successful treatment and subsequent functional recovery of rhesus monkeys with induced acute spinal cord injuries.
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.
Discovery could be key to treating brain and spinal cord injury
A foray into plant biology led one researcher to discover that a natural molecule can repair axons, the thread-like projections that carry electrical signals between cells. Axonal damage is the major culprit underlying disability in conditions such as spinal cord injury and stroke.
Andrew Kaplan, a PhD candidate at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital of McGill University, was looking for a pharmacological approach to axon regeneration, with a focus on 14-3-3, a family of proteins with neuroprotective functions that have been under investigation in the laboratory of Dr. Alyson Fournier, professor of neurology and neurosurgery and senior author on the study.