Brain Repair

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Science  11 May 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5519, pp. 1025
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5519.1025b

Damaged neuronal projections may sometimes show limited abilities to regenerate. However, such regeneration is rarely seen in the central nervous system, where regenerating axons are unable to make their way through scar tissue within the lesion. Moon et al. have now shown that the proteoglycans of scar tissue may be responsible for inhibiting axonal regeneration. Damage was experimentally induced in the nigrostriatal tract of adult rats. Without further intervention, all of the severed axons would die within about 10 weeks. However, when the rats were treated at the lesion site with an enzyme that degrades the chondroitin sulfate modifications on proteoglycans, they consistently showed improved regeneration of axons through the lesion. Repair in the nigrostriatal tract is of particular interest because of its involvement in Parkinson's disease in humans. In addition, the influence of scar tissue on the ability of neurons to regenerate may be important throughout the central nervous system. — PJH

Nature Neurosci.4, 465 (2001).

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