Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after spinal cord injury identified

Date:
May 31, 2010
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
University of Alberta researchers have identified one of the body's natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after spinal cord injury which could lead to the development of more effective treatments.

Researchers in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine have made an important discovery that could lead to more effective treatments for spinal-cord injuries. Karim Fouad and David Bennett have identified one of the body's natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after injury.

Related Articles


To help understand the discovery the researchers say it is important to first describe the neurons in the spinal cord that control muscle contractions. These neurons represent a fairly autonomous part of the nervous system that control many basic functions such as walking and bladder control. These neurons are brought into a state of readiness by a transmitter called serotonin. Serotonin originates in the brain and projects down the spinal cord where it binds to serotonin receptors on the neurons. This process turns a quiet neuron into one that's ready to respond to fast inputs from the brain.

When someone suffers a spinal-cord injury they can lose almost all serotonin projections, so it was previously thought that the serotonin receptors were inactive. But the U of A researchers found that serotonin receptors are spontaneously active after spinal-cord injury, despite the absence of serotonin. Their study shows that this receptor activity is an essential factor in the recovery of functions like walking. Fouad and Bennett say this significant discovery provides important insight into how the spinal cord responds and changes after an injury, which is essential to developing meaningful treatments.

But, the researchers add, there is a dark side. While the serotonin receptors remain active after injury, they are permanently turned on. Fouad and Bennett say this activity is what contributes to muscle spasms, a common problem for people with severe spinal-cord injury. The pair says the next step in helping patients who won't be able to regain control of muscle contractions is to examine how to block these serotonin receptors to stop the spasms from occurring, in particular by using already available drugs or by designing more targeted drugs.

Fouad and Bennett's research is being published May 30, 2010, in the journal Nature Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Katherine C Murray, Aya Nakae, Marilee J Stephens, Michelle Rank, Jessica D'Amico, Philip J Harvey, Xiaole Li, R Luke W Harris, Edward W Ballou, Roberta Anelli, Charles J Heckman, Takashi Mashimo, Romana Vavrek, Leo Sanelli, Monica A Gorassini, David J Bennett, Karim Fouad. Recovery of motoneuron and locomotor function after spinal cord injury depends on constitutive activity in 5-HT2C receptors. Nature Medicine, 2010; DOI: 10.1038/nm.2160

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after spinal cord injury identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100530144019.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2010, May 31). Natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after spinal cord injury identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100530144019.htm
University of Alberta. "Natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after spinal cord injury identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100530144019.htm (accessed November 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

Ebola: Life Without School in Guinea

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Following the closure of schools and universities in Guinea because of the Ebola virus, students look for temporary work or gather in makeshift classrooms to catch up on their syllabus. Duration: 02:14 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