Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New procedure repairs severed nerves in minutes, restoring limb use in days or weeks

Date:
February 3, 2012
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Scientists believe a new procedure to repair severed nerves could result in patients recovering in days or weeks, rather than months or years. The team used a cellular mechanism similar to that used by many invertebrates to repair damage to nerve axons.

Rat. Scientists were able to repair severed sciatic nerves in the upper thigh of rats, with results showing the rats were able to use their limb within a week and had much function restored within 2 to 4 weeks, in some cases to almost full function.
Credit: Heiko Kiera / Fotolia

American scientists believe a new procedure to repair severed nerves could result in patients recovering in days or weeks, rather than months or years. The team used a cellular mechanism similar to that used by many invertebrates to repair damage to nerve axons.

Their results were recently published in the Journal of Neuroscience Research.

"We have developed a procedure which can repair severed nerves within minutes so that the behavior they control can be partially restored within days and often largely restored within two to four weeks," said Professor George Bittner from the University of Texas. "If further developed in clinical trials this approach would be a great advance on current procedures that usually imperfectly restore lost function within months at best."

The team studied the mechanisms all animal cells use to repair damage to their membranes and focused on invertebrates, which have a superior ability to regenerate nerve axons compared to mammals. An axon is a long extension arising from a nerve cell body that communicates with other nerve cells or with muscles.

This research success arises from Bittner's discovery that nerve axons of invertebrates which have been severed from their cell body do not degenerate within days, as happens with mammals, but can survive for months, or even years.

The severed proximal nerve axon in invertebrates can also reconnect with its surviving distal nerve axon to produce much quicker and much better restoration of behaviour than occurs in mammals.

"Severed invertebrate nerve axons can reconnect proximal and distal ends of severed nerve axons within seven days, allowing a rate of behavioural recovery that is far superior to mammals," said Bittner. "In mammals the severed distal axonal stump degenerates within three days and it can take nerve growths from proximal axonal stumps months or years to regenerate and restore use of muscles or sensory areas, often with less accuracy and with much less function being restored."

The team described their success in applying this process to rats in two new research papers. The team were able to repair severed sciatic nerves in the upper thigh, with results showing the rats were able to use their limb within a week and had much function restored within 2 to 4 weeks, in some cases to almost full function.

"We used rats as an experimental model to demonstrate how severed nerve axons can be repaired. Without our procedure, the return of nearly full function rarely comes close to happening," said Bittner. "The sciatic nerve controls all muscle movement of the leg of all mammals and this new approach to repairing nerve axons could almost-certainly be just as successful in humans."

To explore the long term implications and medical uses of this procedure, MD's and other scientist- collaborators at Harvard Medical School and Vanderbilt Medical School and Hospitals are conducting studies to obtain approval to begin clinical trials.

"We believe this procedure could produce a transformational change in the way nerve injuries are repaired," concluded Bittner.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. G.D. Bittner, C.P. Keating, J.R. Kane, J.M. Britt, C.S. Spaeth, J.D. Fan, A. Zuzek, R.W. Wilcott, W.P. Thayer, J.M. Winograd, F. Gonzalez-Lima, T. Schallert. Rapid, effective, and long-lasting behavioral recovery produced by microsutures, methylene blue, and polyethylene glycol after completely cutting rat sciatic nerves. Journal of Neuroscience Research, 2012; DOI: 10.1002/jnr.23023

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "New procedure repairs severed nerves in minutes, restoring limb use in days or weeks." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 February 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120203092423.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2012, February 3). New procedure repairs severed nerves in minutes, restoring limb use in days or weeks. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120203092423.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "New procedure repairs severed nerves in minutes, restoring limb use in days or weeks." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120203092423.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Peace Corps Pulls Workers From W. Africa Over Ebola Fears

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Peace Corps is one of several U.S.-based organizations to pull workers out of West Africa because of the Ebola outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Weather Kills 2K A Year, But Storms Aren't The Main Offender

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Health officials say 2,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. due to weather, but it's excessive heat and cold that claim the most lives. 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