Blood vessels and supporting cells appear to be pivotal partners in repairing nerves ravaged by diabetic neuropathy, and nurturing their partnership with nerve cells might make the difference between success and failure in experimental efforts to regrow damaged nerves, Johns Hopkins researchers report in a new study.
About 20 percent of diabetics experience neuropathy, a painful tingling, burning or numbness in the hands and feet that reflects damage to nerves and sometimes leads to infections and amputation of the toes, fingers, hands and feet over time. Current treatments for diabetic neuropathy focus on relieving symptoms, but don’t address the root cause by repairing nerve damage. Previous research has shown that nerve cells’ long extensions, known as axons, regenerate slowly in diabetics, scuttling various experiments to regrow healthy nerves, explains study leader Michael Polydefkis, M.D., M.H.S., associate professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Searching for the reasons behind this slow regeneration, Polydefkis, along with Johns Hopkins assistant professor of neurology Gigi Ebenezer, M.B.B.S., M.D., and their colleagues recruited 10 patients with diabetic neuropathy and 10 healthy people of similar ages and took tiny (3 millimeters) “punch” biopsies from the skin of each participant’s thigh. Several months later, they took 4 mm biopsies from the same site to see how the nerves, blood vessels and nerve-supporting cells, called Schwann cells, were growing back into the healing biopsy site.
In both the neuropathy patients and the healthy individuals, results reported in the June issue of Brain showed that the first to grow into the healing skin were blood vessels, followed soon after by Schwann cells and then axons, which appeared to use the blood vessels as scaffolds. However, the entire process was significantly delayed for the neuropathy patients. Not only was axon regeneration slower compared to the healthy patients, as expected, but blood vessel growth rate was also slower, and fewer Schwann cells accompanied the growing axons into the healing skin.
“Our results suggest that regenerative abnormalities associated with diabetes are widespread,” Polydefkis says. “They’re not just affecting nerves—they’re also affecting blood vessel growth and Schwann cell proliferation.”
Additionally, he says, the findings could explain why blood vessel-related problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, often accompany diabetes. Slowed regeneration of damaged blood vessels could contribute to these conditions as well, he explains.
Polydefkis says the findings provide potential new targets for treating neuropathy and vascular problems. By promoting blood vessel and Schwann cell growth, researchers might be able to speed up axon regeneration and successfully repair damaged nerves and blood vessels, potentially combating diabetic neuropathy and vascular complications simultaneously.
For more information:http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/neurology_neurosurgery/experts/profiles/
Christen Brownlee | EurekAlert!
Staphylococcus aureus: A new mechanism involved in virulence and antibiotic resistance
23.03.2018 | Institut Pasteur
Scientists develop tiny tooth-mounted sensors that can track what you eat
22.03.2018 | Tufts University
Satellites in near-Earth orbit are at risk due to the steady increase in space debris. But their mission in the areas of telecommunications, navigation or weather forecasts is essential for society. Fraunhofer FHR therefore develops radar-based systems which allow the detection, tracking and cataloging of even the smallest particles of debris. Satellite operators who have access to our data are in a better position to plan evasive maneuvers and prevent destructive collisions. From April, 25-29 2018, Fraunhofer FHR and its partners will exhibit the complementary radar systems TIRA and GESTRA as well as the latest radar techniques for space observation across three stands at the ILA Berlin.
The "traffic situation" in space is very tense: the Earth is currently being orbited not only by countless satellites but also by a large volume of space...
An international team of researchers has discovered a new anti-cancer protein. The protein, called LHPP, prevents the uncontrolled proliferation of cancer cells in the liver. The researchers led by Prof. Michael N. Hall from the Biozentrum, University of Basel, report in “Nature” that LHPP can also serve as a biomarker for the diagnosis and prognosis of liver cancer.
The incidence of liver cancer, also known as hepatocellular carcinoma, is steadily increasing. In the last twenty years, the number of cases has almost doubled...
In just a few weeks from now, the Chinese space station Tiangong-1 will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere where it will to a large extent burn up. It is possible that some debris will reach the Earth's surface. Tiangong-1 is orbiting the Earth uncontrolled at a speed of approx. 29,000 km/h.Currently the prognosis relating to the time of impact currently lies within a window of several days. The scientists at Fraunhofer FHR have already been monitoring Tiangong-1 for a number of weeks with their TIRA system, one of the most powerful space observation radars in the world, with a view to supporting the German Space Situational Awareness Center and the ESA with their re-entry forecasts.
Following the loss of radio contact with Tiangong-1 in 2016 and due to the low orbital height, it is now inevitable that the Chinese space station will...
Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, provider of research and development services for OLED lighting solutions, announces the founding of the “OLED Licht Forum” and presents latest OLED design and lighting solutions during light+building, from March 18th – 23rd, 2018 in Frankfurt a.M./Germany, at booth no. F91 in Hall 4.0.
They are united in their passion for OLED (organic light emitting diodes) lighting with all of its unique facets and application possibilities. Thus experts in...
A new scenario seeking to explain how Mars' putative oceans came and went over the last 4 billion years implies that the oceans formed several hundred million...
23.03.2018 | Event News
19.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Event News
23.03.2018 | Materials Sciences
23.03.2018 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
23.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy