Navigation Links
1 small step for neurons, 1 giant leap for nerve cell repair
Date:10/7/2009

This release is available in French.

The repair of damaged nerve cells is a major problem in medicine today. A new study by researchers at the Montreal NeurologicaI Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) and McGill University, is a significant advance towards a solution for neuronal repair. The study featured on the cover of the October 7 issue of Journal of Neuroscience, is the first to show that nerve cells will grow and make meaningful, functional contacts, or synapses - the specialized junctions through which neurons signal to each other - with an artificial component, in this case, plastic beads coated with a substance that encourages adhesion, and attracts the nerve cells.

"Many therapies, most still in the conceptual stage, are aimed at restoring the connection between the nerve cell and the severed nerve fibres that innervate a target tissue, typically muscle," says Dr. David Colman, Director of The Neuro and principal investigator in the study. "Traditional approaches to therapies would require the re-growth of a severed nerve fibre a distance of up to one meter in order to potentially restore function. The approach we are using however bypasses the need to force nerve cells to artificially grow these long distances, and eliminates the demand for two neurons to make a synapse, both of which are considerable obstacles to neuronal repair in a damaged system."

"We are tackling this problem in an entirely new way, as part of the McGill Program in NeuroEngineering," says Dr. Anna Lisa Lucido, who conducted research for the study as part of her PhD research at The Neuro and is currently a post-doctoral fellow at UCSF. "This program, spearheaded by Dr. Colman, is a multi-disciplinary consortium that brings together the knowledge, expertise and perspectives of 40 scientists from diverse fields to focus on the challenge of neuronal repair in the central nervous system. The approach we have taken is to help healthy nerve cells form functional contacts with artificial substrates in order to create a paradigm that can be adapted to model systems in which neurons are damaged. That approach will be combined with strategies to encourage the outgrowth of damaged neuronal branches through which these connections, or synapses, are formed. It's a challenging endeavour, but the ability to trigger connections to form on command is a promising start. Our ultimate goal is to create a combined platform in which damaged cells could be encouraged to both re-grow and re-establish their functional connections."

The synapses generated in this study are virtually identical to their natural counterparts except the 'receiving' side of the synapse is an artificial plastic rather than another nerve cell or the target tissue itself. This study is the first, using these particular devices, to show that adhesion is a fundamental first step in triggering synaptic assembly.

"Even though components of synapses have been induced in similar earlier studies, their functionality was not proven. In order to assess function - that is transmission of a signal from the synapse, we stimulated the nerve cells with electricity, sending the signal, an action potential, to the synapse. By artificially stimulating nerve cells in the presence of dyes, we could see that transmission had taken place as the dyes were taken up by the synapses."

"We believe that within the next five years we will have a fully functional device that will be able to directly convey natural nerve cell signals from the nerve cell itself to an artificial matrix containing a mini-computer that will communicate wirelessly with target tissues," says Dr. Colman. These results not only provide a model to understand how neurons are formed which can be employed in subsequent studies but, provides hope for those affected and potentially holds promise for the use of artificial substrates in the repair of damaged nerves.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anita Kar
anita.kar@mcgill.ca
514-398-3376
McGill University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Prophylactic cranial irradiation in small cell lung cancer significantly increases survival
2. Governor Rendell Announces $2.1 Million Investment in Small Transit Vehicles
3. Karen Vigil Named Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer, Blue Shield of Californias Individual, Small Group, and Government Business Unit
4. Small Incisions Make Heart Valve Surgery Safer
5. American Red Cross and FedEx Announce Collaboration to Help Small Businesses Get Prepared for Disaster
6. Smaller breast reduction surgeries provide health benefits and should be reimbursed
7. Exponent to Present at the Upcoming Sidoti & Company Investor Forum and William Blair Small-Cap Growth Stock Conference
8. Activate America(R) Brings Together YMCAs Nationwide to Promote Small Steps Toward a Healthier Lifestyle During America on the Move Week With the YMCA, September 22-29, 2007
9. Small Bone Innovations Introduces the Artelon(R) STT Spacer to Increase Treatment Options for Thumb Arthritis
10. Small Army Takes on Cure for Diabetes and New Approach to Ending World Poverty with Addition of Non-Profit Accounts
11. Small Town Doctor Takes on Giants in Consumer Healthcare
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/24/2017)... , ... February 24, 2017 , ... ... of Liberty University, has officially announced the appointment of Peter A. Bell, DO, ... of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM), beginning April 10. Dr. Bell comes to Liberty ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... The narrative in “ Signal 8: An ... true account of his paramedic experiences. Schanssema describes the tragedies he saw, as well ... to overcome them. , Schanssema, initially unsure of the career path he wanted to ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... ... February 24, 2017 , ... Indiana Fiber Network (IFN) ... company later this year. Dyer started as the Chairman of the Management Committee ... establishment of the corporation including the recruitment of investor/owners and development of the business ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... ... February 23, 2017 , ... Thinksport, the most ... Jensie Gran Fondo of Marin. For the second year in a row, cyclists ... sunscreen. , “We are thrilled to provide our safe, non-toxic sunscreen to over ...
(Date:2/23/2017)... , ... February 23, 2017 , ... The American Cleft ... ACPA’s 74th Annual Meeting. KLS is a longtime supporter of the event. , ... exhibitor and Platinum Sponsor," said Dr. Bob Havlik, 2017 ACPA President. "KLS Martin has ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/24/2017)... 2017 Research and Markets has announced the ... - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Wireless ... 23.8% over the next decade to reach approximately $330.5 billion by ... forecasts for all the given segments on global as well as ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... 2017 Physician General Dr. Rachel Levine ... Jennifer Smith commended South Central EMS today ... using naloxone, a life-saving overdose reversal drug. The recognition ... specialist and overdose survivor who was saved due to ... "A significant part of fighting the opioid epidemic is ...
(Date:2/24/2017)... NEW YORK , Feb. 23, 2017 Report ... The report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, ... Europe , Asia-Pacific , ... estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2015 through ... markets. Market data and analytics are derived from primary and ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: