Nav: Home

A secret ingredient to help heal spinal cord injuries?

November 03, 2016

Researchers have identified a protein in zebrafish that facilitates healing of major spinal cord injuries. While mammals lack the ability to regenerate nervous system tissue after spinal cord injury, zebrafish can regenerate such tissue. Yet, the mechanisms behind this recovery have remained elusive. Scientists have thought clues may exist in glial cells, which, in mammals, cause scarring that interferes with spinal cord repair; in zebrafish, however, these same cells help create a bridge across severed spinal cord tissue and facilitate regeneration. To gain more insights into this capacity in zebrafish, Mayssa Mokalled and colleagues analyzed their gene expression following spinal cord injury, identifying seven genes of interest. Of these, connective tissue growth factor a (ctgfa), was found to be expressed during a key period of healing, as glial cells were actively building bridges across damaged tissue. Zebrafish in which ctgfa was knocked out exhibited glial cells that often failed to extend into the lesions, and the fish were unable to recover from spinal injury. In contrast, overexpression of ctgfa resulted in increased bridging, axon regeneration, and overall healing compared to controls. When the researchers applied a human form of CTGF protein to lesions in zebrafish, similar recovery of spinal cord function was observed, hinting that other factors within zebrafish spinal tissue may explain the healing differences between mammals and zebrafish; Philip Williams and Zhigang He explore some possible explanations for these differences in a related Perspective.
-end-


American Association for the Advancement of Science

Related Spinal Cord Injury Articles:

From spinal cord injury to recovery
Spinal cord injury disconnects communication between the brain and the spinal cord, disrupting control over part of the body.
Transplanting adult spinal cord tissues: A new strategy of repair spinal cord injury
Spinal cord injury repair is one of the most challenging medical problems, and no effective therapeutic methods has been developed.
Timing could mean everything after spinal cord injury
Moderate damage to the thoracic spinal cord causes widespread disruption to the timing of the body's daily activities, according to a study of male and female rats published in eNeuro.
New approach could jumpstart breathing after spinal cord injury
A research team at the Krembil Research Institute in Toronto has developed an innovative strategy that could help to restore breathing following traumatic spinal cord injury.
Gene signature predicts outcome after spinal cord injury
Scientists have determined a gene signature that is linked to the severity of spinal cord injury in animals and humans, according to a study in the open-access journal eLife.
More Spinal Cord Injury News and Spinal Cord Injury Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#537 Science Journalism, Hold the Hype
Everyone's seen a piece of science getting over-exaggerated in the media. Most people would be quick to blame journalists and big media for getting in wrong. In many cases, you'd be right. But there's other sources of hype in science journalism. and one of them can be found in the humble, and little-known press release. We're talking with Chris Chambers about doing science about science journalism, and where the hype creeps in. Related links: The association between exaggeration in health related science news and academic press releases: retrospective observational study Claims of causality in health news: a randomised trial This...