Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Research sheds light on nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury

Date:
November 21, 2013
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have discovered how the sea lamprey, an eel-like fish, regrows the neurons that comprise the long nerve "highways" that link the brain to the spinal cord. Findings may guide future efforts to promote recovery in humans who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

Fish, unlike humans, can regenerate nerve connections and recover normal mobility following an injury to their spinal cord. Now, University of Missouri researchers have discovered how the sea lamprey, an eel-like fish, regrows the neurons that comprise the long nerve "highways" that link the brain to the spinal cord. Findings may guide future efforts to promote recovery in humans who have suffered spinal cord injuries.

"There is a lot of attention to why, following a spinal cord injury, neurons regenerate in lower vertebrates, such as the sea lamprey, and why they don't in higher vertebrates, such as humans," said Andrew McClellan, professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science and director of the MU Spinal Cord Injury Program.

The study focuses on the regrowth of a particular group of nerve cells called reticulospinal neurons, which are necessary for locomotion. These neurons are found in the hindbrain, or the brainstem, and send signals to the spinal cord of all vertebrates to control movements of the body, such as locomotor behavior. When these nerve cells are damaged by a spinal cord injury, the animal is unable to move below the level of injury. While humans and other higher vertebrates would be permanently paralyzed, the sea lamprey and other lower vertebrates have the ability to regrow these neurons and recover the ability to move within a few short weeks.

In the study, McClellan and his colleagues isolated and removed injured reticulospinal neurons from sea lamprey and grew them in cultures. They applied chemicals that activated a group of molecules, called second messengers, to see what effects they had on these neurons' growth. They discovered that activation of cyclic AMP, a molecule that relays chemical signals inside cells, acted somewhat like an "on" switch -- essentially converting neurons from a non-growing state to a growing one. However, it had no effect on neurons that had already begun to grow.

McClellan says that the information learned from the study may shed light on studies of neural regeneration in mammals, including humans.

"In mammals, cyclic AMP does appear to enhance neural regeneration within the central nervous system in an environment that normally inhibits regeneration," McClellan said. "Cyclic AMP seems to be able to overcome some of these inhibitory factors and promotes at least some regeneration. Hopefully our studies with the lamprey can provide a list of conditions that are important for neural regeneration to help guide therapies in higher vertebrates, and possibly in humans."

Contributors to the study "Cyclic AMP stimulates neurite outgrowth of lamprey reticulospinal neurons without substantially altering their biophysical properties," include Timothy Pale and Emily Frisch, MU Division of Biological Sciences. The study appeared in the journal Neuroscience.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. T. Pale, E.B. Frisch, A.D. McClellan. Cyclic AMP stimulates neurite outgrowth of lamprey reticulospinal neurons without substantially altering their biophysical properties. Neuroscience, 2013; 245: 74 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.04.016

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "Research sheds light on nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121130212.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2013, November 21). Research sheds light on nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121130212.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "Research sheds light on nerve regeneration following spinal cord injury." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131121130212.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

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
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Xtreme Eating: Your Daily Caloric Intake All On One Plate

Newsy (July 30, 2014) The Center for Science in the Public Interest released its 2014 list of single meals with whopping calorie counts. 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