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Researchers design first model motor nerve system that's insulated and organized like the human body
Date:7/21/2009

up began with a model that was serum-free. They had already developed techniques for growing various nervous system cells in serum-free media, including motoneurons, and here they attempted myelination using the growth medium they have worked with for many years.

In the body, nerve cells grow in two distinct environments: In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), cells are exposed to blood and other fluids that contain high concentrations of protein, among various other constituents, depending on where the cells are located in the body. In the central nervous system (CNS), the spinal cord and brain are surrounded by cerebrospinal fluid that contains only trace amounts of protein. This system now allows for both the PNS and CNS to be studied in the same defined system.

The UCF team plans to use their new model system to explore the origins of diabetic neuropathy. Once the causes of myelin degradation are identified, targets for new drug therapies can be tested with the model. Other planned experiments will focus on how electrical signals travel through myelinated and unmyelinated nerves to reveal how nerves malfunction as well as for spinal cord injury studies. "Being able to study these fully developed structures means we can really start looking at these things in a way that just wasn't possible before," commented Hickman.


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Contact: Allyn Molina
Al.molina@elsevier.com
212-366-3656
Elsevier
Source:Eurekalert

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