Monday, June 14, 2010

Targeted Molecules Play Only Minor Role in Axon Repair

picture of the cervical spine

ScienceDaily (June 9, 2010) — Neuroscientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have found that removing three key inhibitory molecules from myelin -- the insulating material that surrounds nerve cell fibers -- does not significantly boost the ability of injured spinal axons to regenerate and restore themselves to full function.

"I think this just shows how incredibly complicated the challenge is to induce axon regeneration and functional recovery after central nervous system (CNS) injuries," said Binhai Zheng, PhD, assistant professor of neurosciences at UC San Diego School of Medicine and principal investigator of the study. "It's not going to be one gene or one approach that proves to be the answer. Successful regeneration will likely require a combination of many approaches and techniques."

The findings, to be published by Zheng and colleagues in the June 10 issue of the journal Neuron, run contrary to a popular and enduring hypothesis that the elimination of key inhibitory molecules in myelin should measurably boost axon regeneration in CNS injuries.

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