Navigation Links
Zebrafish reveal promising mechanism for healing spinal cord injury
Date:7/6/2012

BETHESDA, MD July 6, 2012 Yona Goldshmit, Ph.D., is a former physical therapist who worked in rehabilitation centers with spinal cord injury patients for many years before deciding to switch her focus to the underlying science.

"After a few years in the clinic, I realized that we don't really know what's going on," she said.

Now a scientist working with Peter Currie, Ph.D., at Monash University in Australia, Dr. Goldshmit is studying the mechanisms of spinal cord repair in zebrafish, which, unlike humans and other mammals, can regenerate their spinal cord following injury. On June 23 at the 2012 International Zebrafish Development and Genetics Conference in Madison, Wisconsin, she described a protein that may be a key difference between regeneration in fish and mammals.

One of the major barriers to spinal regeneration in mammals is a natural protective mechanism, which incongruously results in an unfortunate side effect. After a spinal injury, nervous system cells called glia are activated and flood the area to seal the wound to protect the brain and spinal cord. In doing so, however, the glia create scar tissue that acts as a physical and chemical barrier, which prevents new nerves from growing through the injury site.

One striking difference between the glial cells in mammals and fish is the resulting shape: mammalian glia take on highly branched, star-like arrangements that appear to intertwine into dense tissue. Fish glia cells, by contrast, adopt a simple elongated shape called bipolar morphology that bridges the injury site and appears to help new nerve cells grow through the damaged area to heal the spinal cord.

"Zebrafish don't have so much inflammation and the injury is not so severe as in mammals, so we can actually see the pro-regenerative effects that can happen," Dr. Goldshmit explained.

Studies in mice have found that mammalian glia can take up the same elongated shape, but in response to the environment around the injury they instead mature into scar tissue that does not allow nerve regrowth.

Dr. Goldshmit and her colleagues have focused on a family of molecules called fibroblast growth factors (Fgf), which have shown some evidence of improving recovery in mice and humans with spinal cord damage. The Monash University group found that Fgf activity around the damage site promotes the bipolar glial shape and encourages nerve regeneration in zebrafish.

Preliminary results in mice show that Fgf injections near a spinal injury increase both the number of glia cells at the site and the elongated morphology. Their evidence suggests that Fgfs may work to create an environment more supportive of regeneration in mammals as well and could be a valuable therapeutic target.

Spinal injury patients usually have few options, Dr. Goldshmit emphasized, and development of new, biologically-based approaches will be critical.

"This is a nice example of how we can use the zebrafish model," she said. "When we learn from the zebrafish what to look at, we can find things that give us hope for finding therapeutic approaches for spinal cord injury in humans."


'/>"/>

Contact: Phyllis Edelman
pedelman@genetics-gsa.org
301-634-7302
Genetics Society of America
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Novel compound demonstrates anti-leukemic effect in zebrafish, shows promise for human treatment
2. Study reveals how cancer drug causes diabetic-like state
3. New Method to Reveal Alzheimers Marker Shows Promise
4. Study reveals major funding shortfall and high death rates for emergency laparotomy
5. Biomarkers can reveal IBS
6. A closer look at PARP-1 reveals potential new drug targets
7. Novel biomarkers reveal evidence of radiation exposure
8. Fruit flies reveal mechanism behind ALS-like disease
9. The Tennessee Car Accident Lawyers at Michael D. Ponce & Associates Alert Public of CDC Survey Revealing Majority of High School Seniors Admitting to Texting Behind Wheel
10. Researchers reveal crucial immune fighter role of the STING protein
11. Weirdest hCG Questions Revealed
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... named Agency of Record (AOR) for Theravent, Inc. , the makers of ... parent company, Foundation Consumer Healthcare, is now working to expand distribution in anticipation ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... , ... April 21, 2017 , ... Alive for ... who wish to overcome their mental health struggles. The Alive team uses advanced ... says: “Our approach in dealing with a mental health struggle is based on ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... ... is seeking candidates to serve on its Accreditation and Standards Committees to ... ultimate mission is improving image quality and reducing patient radiation dose,” reports ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... ... and Overseer at The House of Yahweh in Abilene, Texas, wrote an open letter this ... to peace plan. Yisrayl says war has never brought peace and he knows the only ... , Yisrayl says war drums are beating all over the media and the tensions ...
(Date:4/21/2017)... ... April 21, 2017 , ... A ... for older shoulder replacement patients; post-operative recovery just might be even better than ... patients presenting with osteoarthritis following surgery: 262 patients under 65 and 103 patients ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/19/2017)... 2017  IRIDEX Corporation (Nasdaq: IRIX ) ... the first quarter 2017 after the close of trading ... will host a corresponding conference call beginning at 2:30 ... interested in listening to the conference call may do ... (703) 326-3030 for international callers, using conference ID: 92158987.  ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... India , April 19, 2017 ... and Application, Forecast to 2022 report has covered and analysed ... statistics and information on market size, shares and growth factors. ... major drivers, challenges and opportunities in the global market. ... Browse 152 Tables and Figures, ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... N.J. , April 19, 2017  Novartis ... by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ... demonstrating that 58% of patients with treatment-naïve severe ... months when treated with eltrombopag at the initiation ... . The study evaluated three sequential treatment groups, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: