UT Southwestern researchers boost regeneration of spinal cord nerve cells — 8 highlights


Dallas-based UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers are studying the regeneration of spinal cord nerve cells.

Cell Reports published the study.


Here are eight highlights:


1. The researchers achieved enhanced regeneration of mature nerve cells in mice spinal cords.


2. The study focused on glial cells, which support spinal cord nerve cells and create scar tissue when injury strikes.


3. The researchers developed new nerve cells in the brains and spinal cords of mice via transcription factors, which encouraged the transformation of adult glial cells into stem cell states.


4. These stem-like cells then matured into adult nerve cells. The number of newly created spinal nerve cells checked in low, however, so the laboratory devised ways to boost adult neuron production.


5. They first silenced sections of the p53-p21 protein pathway, which serves as a barrier to glial cells transitioning into stem-like cells.


6. Researchers then analyzed the mice for factors that could potentially increase the number of stem-like cells maturing into adult neurons. They found growth factors, BCNF and Noggin, as fitting the bill.


7. By silencing the pathway and adding in the two growth factors, the researchers successfully boosted the number of maturing cells by tens of thousands.


8. The researchers concluded their findings offer a "cellular basis for regeneration-based therapy for spinal cord injuries."


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