Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stem cell scarring aids recovery from spinal cord injury

Date:
October 31, 2013
Source:
Karolinska Institutet
Summary:
The scar tissue formed by stem cells after a spinal cord injury does not impair recovery; in fact, stem cell scarring confines the damage,according to new research. The findings indicate that scar tissue prevents the lesion from expanding and helps injured nerve cells survive. Spinal cord injuries sever nerve fibers that conduct signals between the brain and the rest of the body, causing various degrees of paralysis depending on the site and extent of the injury. Functional impairment is often permanent, since the cut nerve fibers do not grow back. The lack of regeneration had previously been attributed to a blockage from scar tissue that forms at the lesion.

In a new study, researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden show that the scar tissue formed by stem cells after a spinal cord injury does not impair recovery; in fact, stem cell scarring confines the damage. The findings, which are published in the scientific journal Science, indicate that scar tissue prevents the lesion from expanding and helps injured nerve cells survive.

Spinal cord injuries sever nerve fibres that conduct signals between the brain and the rest of the body, causing various degrees of paralysis depending on the site and extent of the injury. Functional impairment is often permanent, since the cut nerve fibres do not grow back. The lack of regeneration has been attributed to a blockage from scar tissue that forms at the lesion. It has therefore been suggested that the nerve fibres could regenerate and that recovery could improve if scar formation is inhibited, and many proposed therapeutic strategies have been designed around this concept.

In the present study, the researchers focused on spinal cord stem cells, which are one of the main sources of the scar tissue that is formed after spinal cord injury. They found that when blocking scar formation by preventing the stem cells from forming new cells after an injury, the injury gradually expanded, and more nerve fibres were severed. They also observed that more spinal cord nerve cells died in these mice compared to mice with intact stem cell function, which were able to form normal scar tissue.

"It turned out that scarring from stem cells was necessary for stabilising the injury and preventing it from spreading," says principal investigator Professor Jonas Frisén at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. "Scar tissue also facilitated the survival of damaged nerve cells. Our results suggest that more rather than less stem cell scarring could limit the consequences of a spinal cord injury."

According to earlier animal studies, recovery can be improved by transplanting stem cells to the injured spinal cord. The new findings suggest that stimulating the spinal cord's own stem cells could offer an alternative to cell transplantation.

The study was supported by grants from the Swedish Research Council, the Swedish Cancer Society, the Tobias Foundation, AFA Insurance, the Strategic Research Programme in Stem Cell Research and Regenerative Medicine (StratRegen) at Karolinska Institutet and the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Hanna Sabelström, Moa Stenudd, Pedro Réu, David O. Dias, Marta Elfineh, Sofia Zdunek, Peter Damberg, Christian Göritz, and Jonas Frisén. Resident Neural Stem Cells Restrict Tissue Damage and Neuronal Loss After Spinal Cord Injury in Mice. Science, 1 November 2013: 637-640 DOI: 10.1126/science.1242576

Cite This Page:

Karolinska Institutet. "Stem cell scarring aids recovery from spinal cord injury." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031140632.htm>.
Karolinska Institutet. (2013, October 31). Stem cell scarring aids recovery from spinal cord injury. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031140632.htm
Karolinska Institutet. "Stem cell scarring aids recovery from spinal cord injury." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131031140632.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
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