Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Combination Therapy Dramatically Improves Function After Spinal Cord Injury In Rats

Date:
May 24, 2004
Source:
NIH/National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke
Summary:
A combination therapy using transplanted cells plus two experimental drugs significantly improves function in paralyzed rats, a new study shows. The results suggest that a similar therapy may be useful in humans with spinal cord injury.

A combination therapy using transplanted cells plus two experimental drugs significantly improves function in paralyzed rats, a new study shows. The results suggest that a similar therapy may be useful in humans with spinal cord injury. The study was funded in part by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), part of the National Institutes of Health, and appears in the June 2004 issue of Nature Medicine.*

About 10,000 people in the United States suffer spinal cord injuries each year. Studies in animals during the past decade have shown that supporting cells from nerves outside the brain and spinal cord, called Schwann cells, can be used to make a "bridge" across the damaged spinal cord that encourages nerve fibers to regrow. Other research has suggested that a substance called cyclic AMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) can turn on growth factor genes in nerve cells, stimulating growth and helping to overcome signals that normally inhibit regeneration. This study is the first to try a combination of the two approaches in an animal model of spinal cord injury.

In the new study, Mary Bartlett Bunge, Ph.D., Damien Pearse, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis at the University of Miami School of Medicine, found that spinal cord injury triggers a loss of cAMP in the spinal cord and in some parts of the brain. They then transplanted Schwann cells into the spinal cords of rats in a way that bridged the damaged area. The researchers also gave the rats a form of cAMP and a drug called rolipram, which prevents cAMP from being broken down.

Treatment with the triple-combination therapy preserved and even elevated cAMP levels in nerve cells after injury. It also preserved many of the myelinated nerve fibers in treated animals, compared to untreated rats and those that did not receive the triple combination, the researchers found. Myelin is a fatty substance that insulates the nerve fibers and improves transmission of signals. The treated rats also grew back many more nerve fibers than untreated rats or rats that received only one or two of the therapies. The regenerated nerve fibers included many that carry the nerve-signaling chemical serotonin, which is important for locomotion.

Rats that received the triple therapy had much better locomotion and coordination 8 weeks after treatment than control rats.

"The behavioral improvements in the rats receiving the triple therapy are dramatically better than those reported previously using Schwann cell bridges or cAMP strategies in spinal cord-injured animals," says Naomi Kleitman, Ph.D., the NINDS program director for spinal cord injury research. Previous studies using Schwann cells found that nerve fibers from cells above the injury could travel onto the Schwann cell bridge, but they did not leave the bridge, she explains. The triple therapy "punches the cells into overdrive and helps them get off the bridge."

The therapies tested in this study were selected for their likely feasibility in humans, Dr. Kleitman adds. Rolipram has already been tested in clinical trials for other disorders, and Schwann cells can be grown from patients' own peripheral nerves.

The researchers are now planning follow-up studies to confirm their results and to try to learn more about how the triple therapy works, Dr. Bunge says. Their studies might also lead to the development of better drugs to prevent the breakdown of cAMP, she adds.

###

The NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health within the Department of Health and Human Services and is the nation's primary supporter of biomedical research on the brain and nervous system.

*Pearse DD, Pereira FC, Marcillo AE, Bates ML, Berrocal YA, Filbin MT, Bunge MB. "cAMP and Schwann cells promote axonal growth and functional recovery after spinal cord injury." Nature Medicine, June 2004, Vol. 10, No. 6, DOI: 10.1038/nm1056 (http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm1056).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke. "Combination Therapy Dramatically Improves Function After Spinal Cord Injury In Rats." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040524060214.htm>.
NIH/National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke. (2004, May 24). Combination Therapy Dramatically Improves Function After Spinal Cord Injury In Rats. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040524060214.htm
NIH/National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke. "Combination Therapy Dramatically Improves Function After Spinal Cord Injury In Rats." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/05/040524060214.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins