Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

To fix diabetic nerve damage, blood vessels and support cells may be the real targets of treatment

Date:
June 24, 2011
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Blood vessels and supporting cells appear to be pivotal partners in repairing nerves ravaged by diabetic neuropathy, and nurturing their partnership with nerve cells might make the difference between success and failure in experimental efforts to regrow damaged nerves, researchers report in a new study.

Blood vessels and supporting cells appear to be pivotal partners in repairing nerves ravaged by diabetic neuropathy, and nurturing their partnership with nerve cells might make the difference between success and failure in experimental efforts to regrow damaged nerves, Johns Hopkins researchers report in a new study.

Related Articles


About 20 percent of diabetics experience neuropathy, a painful tingling, burning or numbness in the hands and feet that reflects damage to nerves and sometimes leads to infections and amputation of the toes, fingers, hands and feet over time. Current treatments for diabetic neuropathy focus on relieving symptoms, but don't address the root cause by repairing nerve damage. Previous research has shown that nerve cells' long extensions, known as axons, regenerate slowly in diabetics, scuttling various experiments to regrow healthy nerves, explains study leader Michael Polydefkis, M.D., M.H.S., associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Searching for the reasons behind this slow regeneration, Polydefkis, along with Johns Hopkins assistant professor of neurology Gigi Ebenezer, M.B.B.S., M.D., and their colleagues recruited 10 patients with diabetic neuropathy and 10 healthy people of similar ages and took tiny (3 millimeters) "punch" biopsies from the skin of each participant's thigh. Several months later, they took 4 mm biopsies from the same site to see how the nerves, blood vessels and nerve-supporting cells, called Schwann cells, were growing back into the healing biopsy site.

In both the neuropathy patients and the healthy individuals, results reported in the June issue of Brain showed that the first to grow into the healing skin were blood vessels, followed soon after by Schwann cells and then axons, which appeared to use the blood vessels as scaffolds. However, the entire process was significantly delayed for the neuropathy patients. Not only was axon regeneration slower compared to the healthy patients, as expected, but blood vessel growth rate was also slower, and fewer Schwann cells accompanied the growing axons into the healing skin.

"Our results suggest that regenerative abnormalities associated with diabetes are widespread," Polydefkis says. "They're not just affecting nerves -- they're also affecting blood vessel growth and Schwann cell proliferation."

Additionally, he says, the findings could explain why blood vessel-related problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, often accompany diabetes. Slowed regeneration of damaged blood vessels could contribute to these conditions as well, he explains.

Polydefkis says the findings provide potential new targets for treating neuropathy and vascular problems. By promoting blood vessel and Schwann cell growth, researchers might be able to speed up axon regeneration and successfully repair damaged nerves and blood vessels, potentially combating diabetic neuropathy and vascular complications simultaneously.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G. J. Ebenezer, R. O'Donnell, P. Hauer, N. P. Cimino, J. C. McArthur, M. Polydefkis. Impaired neurovascular repair in subjects with diabetes following experimental intracutaneous axotomy. Brain, 2011; 134 (6): 1853 DOI: 10.1093/brain/awr086

Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "To fix diabetic nerve damage, blood vessels and support cells may be the real targets of treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623174240.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2011, June 24). To fix diabetic nerve damage, blood vessels and support cells may be the real targets of treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623174240.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "To fix diabetic nerve damage, blood vessels and support cells may be the real targets of treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/06/110623174240.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. 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:

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