Replenishing the Sheath

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Science  28 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5773, pp. 500
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5773.500c

After spinal cord injury, neuronal axons may survive; however, they often lose their myelin sheath, which is necessary for impulse conduction, and remyelination does not occur. Because of the ability of adult neural precursor cells (NPCs) to self-renew and to differentiate into multiple cell types, they serve as a potential source of cells to repair central nervous system injuries.

Karimi-Abdolrezaee et al. have examined the ability of mouse NPCs to integrate with injured spinal cord tissue in rats that have been injured at the mid-thoracic level by aneurysm clip compression of the spinal cord. Adult NPCs from the mouse brain were transplanted, and growth factors, an anti-inflammatory drug, and an immunosuppressant were infused into the spinal cord of rats at 2 weeks after trauma, representing the subacute phase of spinal cord injury. This transplantation method promoted the survival and/or differentiation of adult neural progenitors with an oligodendrocyte lineage and resulted in remyelination of injured axons. Locomotion function and hindlimb movement improved after treatment with NPCs in the subacute model. These findings may lead to insights into spinal cord injury and therapeutic intervention. — BAP

J. Neurosci. 26, 3377 (2006).

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