Rewiring of nerve fibres in the spinal cord helps mice to regain the ability to walk after injury, reports a paper online in Nature Medicine.
People with spinal cord injury lose the ability to walk, partly because nerve fibres from motor neurons in the brain are severed or crushed. Efforts to induce functional recovery have largely concentrated on finding ways to regrow these damaged fibres through the lesion. However, regeneration has proven very difficult to achieve.
Michael Sofroniew and colleagues report that there may be an easier way to restore walking after spinal cord injury. They find that neurons within intact portions of the spinal cord near the lesion rewire after injury. These spinal neurons can then relay signals from the brain to neurons below the lesion and restore walking in injured animals. These findings suggest that harnessing spinal neuron rewiring may be a simpler way to induce functional recovery after spinal cord injury.
Michael Sofroniew (University of California, Los Angeles, CA, USA)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Medicine press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza