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  • Writer's pictureJulie Manley

Endangered Salamander offers clues on healing spinal cord injuries

  • A new study determines the cellular mechanism certain species of animals use to regenerate neurons following a neurotmesis (complete spinal cord injury), while humans instead form scar tissue.

  • In humans, peripheral nerves can regenerate following a lesion, depending on the severity. However in the brain and spinal cord, the cells inhibit regeneration.

  • When a Mexican salamander suffers from a spinal cord injury, nearby cells proliferate and rebuild connections between nerves.

  • In contrast, when a human suffers from a spinal cord injury, nearby cells form scar tissue which blocks the nerves from forming a connection.

  • The mechanism for the salamander regeneration can be traced to a single protein c-Fos.

  • This research has future implications for gene therapy to treat spinal cord injury, limb regeneration and scar-free wound healing.

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