Gene inhibitor and salmon injections may restore spinal function

22 July 2014

A new therapy that combines salmon fibrin injections into the spine and a gene inhibitor into the brain could improve voluntary motor function in people impaired by spinal cord injury, scientists at UC Irvine’s Reeve-Irvine Research Center claim.

In a study, lead researchers Gail Lewandowski and Oswald Steward turned back test subjects' 'developmental clock' in a molecular pathway that is critical to the formation of corticospinal tract nerve connections, which provides a scaffold so that neuronal axons at the injury site could grow and link up again.

The new study expands on previous research at UCI, and found that salmon fibrin injected into rats with spinal cord injury filled cavities at the injury site, giving axons a framework in which to reconnect and facilitate recovery.

It represents a "major step" in the effort to identify treatments that restore functional losses suffered by those with spinal cord injury, explained Dr Steward, a professor of anatomy & neurobiology and director of the Reeve-Irvine Research Center.

He added: "Paralysis and loss of function from spinal cord injury has been considered irreversible, but our discovery points the way toward a potential therapy to induce regeneration of nerve connections."

Posted by Philip Briggs

 

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