Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Master Regulator Found For Regenerating Nerve Fibers In Live Animals

Date:
October 26, 2009
Source:
Children's Hospital Boston
Summary:
Researchers have found an essential factor for regenerating neurons in the central nervous system, which normally can't regenerate. This enzyme, or factors that stimulate it, could lead to a possible treatment for stroke, spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injury.

Researchers at Children's Hospital Boston report that an enzyme known as Mst3b, previously identified in their lab, is essential for regenerating damaged axons (nerve fibers) in a live animal model, in both the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Related Articles


Their findings, published online by Nature Neuroscience on October 25, suggest Mst3b -- or agents that stimulate it -- as a possible means of treating stroke, spinal cord damage and traumatic brain injury. Normally, neurons in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) cannot regenerate injured nerve fibers, limiting people's ability to recover from brain or spinal cord injuries.

The study, led by Nina Irwin, PhD and Larry Benowitz, PhD, of the Laboratories for Neuroscience Research in Neurosurgery and the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center at Children's, builds on previous discoveries in the lab. In 2002, they showed that a naturally occurring small molecule, inosine, stimulates axon regeneration, later showing that it helps restore neurological functions in animal models of injury. In 2006, Benowitz and colleagues reported a previously unknown growth factor, oncomodulin, to have dramatic effects on axon growth.

Investigating the mechanisms of action of inosine and oncomodulin, Irwin and Benowitz discovered that both compounds activate Mst3b, an enzyme that appears to be a master regulator of a cell-signaling pathway controlling axon growth. Mst3b, a protein kinase, in turn activates signals that switch on the genes necessary for axons to grow.

Working with live rats whose optic nerve was damaged (a common model of central-nervous-system injury), Irwin, Benowitz and colleagues show that in the absence of Mst3b, axons show very little regeneration, even in the presence of factors known to enhance axon growth. In cell cultures, axon growth increased when activated Mst3b was expressed in the neurons.

"All the growth factors we've tested -- oncomodulin, inosine, brain-derived neurotropic factor, nerve growth factor -- act through Mst3b," says Benowitz. "In fact, activating Mst3b by itself is enough to cause growth even if there are no growth factors around. In terms of basic understanding of nerve cells, this is a very exciting finding."

Further studies examining how Mst3b exerts this growth-promoting effect may open up new avenues for treating brain and spinal cord injuries, Benowitz says. While this study explains why growth factors work -- because they stimulate Mst3b -- it's not yet known whether Mst3b is the best stimulator of axon growth from a practical drug-development standpoint, he adds.

Irwin is now working on possible gene therapy approaches involving Mst3b. Activating Mst3b may help overcome some natural "brakes" in the cell-signaling system that prevent nerve regeneration under normal conditions.

Barbara Lorber, PhD, formerly of Children's and now at the University of Cambridge (Cambridge, UK), was the paper's first author. NIH, the European Union, Alseres, Inc., and the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation funded this study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Children's Hospital Boston. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Children's Hospital Boston. "Master Regulator Found For Regenerating Nerve Fibers In Live Animals." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 October 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091025162501.htm>.
Children's Hospital Boston. (2009, October 26). Master Regulator Found For Regenerating Nerve Fibers In Live Animals. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091025162501.htm
Children's Hospital Boston. "Master Regulator Found For Regenerating Nerve Fibers In Live Animals." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/10/091025162501.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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