Towards a Better Understanding of Nerve Repair

Via ScienceDaily: researchers "have identified more than 70 genes that play a role in regenerating nerves after injury, providing biomedical researchers with a valuable set of genetic leads for use in developing therapies to repair spinal cord injuries and other common kinds of nerve damage such as stroke. ... the scientists detail their discoveries after an exhaustive two-year investigation of 654 genes suspected to be involved in regulating the growth of axons - the thread-like extensions of nerve cells that transmit electrical impulses to other nerve cells. ... We don't know much about how axons re-grow after they're damaged. When you have an injury to your spinal cord or you have a stroke you cause a lot of damage to your axons. And in your brain or spinal cord, regeneration is very inefficient. That's why spinal cord injuries are basically untreatable. ... While scientists in recent decades have gained a good understanding of how nerve cells, or neurons, develop their connections in the developing embryo, much less is known about how adult animals and humans repair - or fail to repair - those connections when axons are damaged. ... Of particular interest [are] the six genes that appear to repress the growth of axons. ... The discovery of these inhibitors is probably the most exciting finding [because] identifying and eliminating the inhibiting factors to the re-growth of axons could be just as essential as the biochemical pathways that promote axon re-growth in repairing spinal cord injuries and other kinds of nerve damage."

Link: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110921144604.htm

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