Spinal Cord Repairing Genes Discovered
Scientists discover naturally repairing genes present in the peripheral nervous system of mammals, according to a report published in January 2018.
The team says that these genes have the potential to repair spinal cord injuries.
“We found a large overlap with the hub of transcription factors that are driving regeneration in the mammalian peripheral nervous system,” says Jennifer Morgan, an author of the study.
Lampreys, eel-like fish that shared common ancestral origin with humans around 550 million years ago. This study observed that a lamprey can fully recover from a severed spinal cord without medication or other treatment in 10 to 12 weeks.
“Scientists have known for many years that the lamprey achieves spontaneous recovery from spinal cord injury, but we have not known the molecular recipe that accompanies and supports this remarkable capacity,” says Ona Bloom of the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.
“In this study, we have determined all the genes that change during the time course of recovery and now that we have that information, we can use it to test if specific pathways are actually essential to the process,” Bloom says.
The team used the brain and spinal cord samples of the lamprey, after the healing process at multiple points in time and further analyzed the material to determine the genes and signaling pathways activated as compared to a non-injured lamprey.
This discovery plays an important role in developing several therapies for patients suffering from spinal cord and movement disabilities.
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