New way to repair nerves?

Nerves, they transmits impulses of sensation to the brain or spinal cord, and impulses from these to the muscles and organs. They are like super important messengers. They are also very delicate structures and are susceptible to various types of injury. Several researches and studies have been conducted trying to find ways to re generate them.

One strategy is to apply polymer microspheres to deliver vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) to the nerve repair site in a controlled sustainable release manner. It promotes angiogenesis and neurogenesis (genesis-growth), and thus leads to a better functional outcome. Another strategy is to counteract the lack of healthy Schwann cells at the nerve repair site by supplementing functioning Schwann cells derived from nerves prepared in an in vitro system. Well now a new research have been done.

Dr. Wenlong Huang, Dr Derryck Shewan and Dr Alba Guijarro-Belmar from Aberdeen University’s Institute of Medical Sciences found triggering a molecule called Epac2 led to “significant improvement” in the growth of nerves that been severed following injury. The study has been published in the Journal of Neuroscience, with city researchers modelling human spinal cord injury in rat nerve cells in a dish.

They have managed to regrow spinal nerves in rats after activating a molecule found in nerve cells by using their very own gel. It is the first time that activating this molecule has been found to boost nerve growth like this.

The treatment was delivered using hydrogel – a new dual-function technique that can carry a treatment to a specific area and slowly release it locally, and it also provides a physical scaffold to support injured nerves across the site.

In another first, not only did Epac2 stimulate growth, the researchers also found that it changed the internal environment at the injury site, making it more amenable to healing.

We hope this treatment can continue to grow and be successful, it will be a huge step forward for people with neuro-degeneration. For more info:

Pic credit: Robina Weermeijer: Unsplash

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