Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rat makes a partial recovery following a spinal cord lesion

20.02.2002


Scientists at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research have developed an experimental therapy which enables rats with a spinal cord lesion to partially recover from their paralysis. Up until now not even the slightest degree of recovery was possible. PhD student Bas Blits was part of this team.



The method uses a combination of transplantation and gene therapy. For the transplantation, the researchers implanted nerve cells cultured in vitro. The cells originated from the nerves between the ribs where they could be missed. Following the transplantation gene therapy has to further stimulate the growth and recovery of the damaged nerve cells. This is done by means of growth stimulating molecules. These neurotrophic factors are naturally present during, for example, the recovery of nerves following a deep cut in the finger. Normally they are not present in large enough quantities in the spinal cord.

Over the next few years the researchers will try to improve their therapy. PhD student Bas Blits will continue his research (with sponsorship from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) at the University of Miami, where he will also attempt to implant stem cells instead of the used nerve cells from the fore rib.


The researchers attempted to repair three sorts of spinal cord damage in rats. The first, the dorsal, partial hemisection is comparable to a knife stab in the back in humans. The two most important neural tracts for voluntary movement are severed. In both humans and rats the result is a paralysed lower body. In rats the result is partially paralysed rear legs. After therapy the rat`s walking improved. It appeared that one of the two neural tracts slowly recovered.

The second spinal cord lesion examined by the researchers was the complete transection at the height of the eighth vertebra. The spinal cord is completely severed, comparable in humans to a spinal cord lesion after a violent knife stab in the rib area. Also, this type results in paralysis in the lower part of the body. After the therapy the rat could make some movement with his hind limbs. The scientists are still trying to clarify this because anatomical investigation demonstrated that there was no recovery of the spinal cord lesion.

The third type of damage was ventral root avulsion. In this model the outgoing nerve fibre is torn lose from the spinal cord, for example during a serious motorbike accident. This damage often results in the dying of the affected motor neurones. These are large nerve cells which control movement. After the administration of growth stimulating substances, it appeared that the motor neurones did not die but neither did they regenerate and recover.

Michel Philippens | alphagalileo

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Spread of deadly eye cancer halted in cells and animals
13.11.2018 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Breakthrough in understanding how deadly pneumococcus avoids immune defenses
13.11.2018 | University of Liverpool

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Chip with Blood Vessels

Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.

Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Fish recognize their prey by electric colors

13.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Ultrasound Connects

13.11.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>