Tuesday, December 11, 2018
Regrowing damaged nerves hinges on shutting down key genes
Quadriplegia is the partial or complete paralysis of both the arms and legs that is usually due to injury or disease of the spinal cord in the region of the neck.
Neurons in the brain and spinal cord don't grow back after injury, unlike those in the rest of the body. Now, researchers have identified some of the key steps taken by nerves in the legs as they regenerate. The findings lay out a path that spinal cord neurons might be able to follow, potentially leading to improved recovery for people paralyzed by spinal cord injuries.
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been working with mice and have identified some of the key steps taken by peripheral nerves, which are those in the arms and legs, as they regenerate. There's no way to reverse a spinal cord injury that has already occurred. The neurons that form the spinal cord do not spontaneously heal themselves.
they have found a set of genes related to sending and receiving chemical and electrical signals, the primary duty of mature neurons , this had to be silenced for the injury to heal, the researchers showed.
The idea that cells must become less mature in order to regenerate is not new, but Cavalli and Oh's study provides evidence in support of that idea. The researchers identified the key molecular and genetic players involved in regressing to a less mature state, and showed that the timing of the regression was crucial to successful recovery.
The scientist are still trying to develop a more detailed understanding of when and for how long specific genes must be shut off.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181210150618.htm Science Daily