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Zebrafish Show New Regenerative Mechanisms in Spinal Cord Injuries

Scientists have discovered that zebrafish can regenerate their own spinal cord by themselves after an injury, a process that mammals are prevented from doing due to the way injuries to our spinal cord scar.

Glia Cells

A very important difference between fish and mammals is in the way scar tissue forms. At least the way it forms in Zebrafish…After a spinal cord injury, the central nervous system activates and releases cells called glia cells, which flood the injured area forming scar tissue that acts as a physical and chemical barrier to protect the brain and the spinal cord. The problem, at least in mammals, is that the mammalian glia barrier takes the form of highly branched, star-like arrangements that appear to intertwine into dense tissue, preventing new nerves from growing through the injury site.

However, scientists have discovered that the glia cells in fish, more specifically Zebrafish, take a simple, elongated shape (called bipolar morphology) that bridges the injury site and appears to help new nerve cells grow through the damaged area to heal the spinal cord.

Research has shown that thanks to a family of molecules called Fibroblast Growth Factors (Fgf), glia cells in mammals may take the same elongated form that they take on Zebrafish. Initial results have shown that when those molecules are injected around the injured spinal area in mice, the number of glia cells with an elongated morphology increases. Apparently, Fgf injections work to foster an environment more supportive of nerve regeneration in mammals too. This encourages scientists to pursue research around how Fgf helps Zebrafish regenerate damaged spinal cord tissue.

Other Regenerative Nerve Cell News

On a separate research, scientists have discovered that when an injury to the spinal cord occurs, production of a certain protein (RhoA) increases. This protein blocks the regeneration of the nerve cells necessary for the damaged tissue to heal. Researchers at W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, in collaboration with Quark Pharmaceuticals, Inc., have developed a chemically synthesized siRNA molecule that once administered to the injured spine decreases the production of the RhoA protein, therefore allowing the regeneration of the nerve cells.

The Lawyers of Greenberg Stone and Urbano Can Help

If you or a loved one have suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a car accident, a motorcycle accident, a tractor-trailer accident, an accident at an amusement park or any other kind of accident, you should immediately contact a law firm experienced in handling these cases. The lawyers at Greenberg Stone and Urbano have more than 67 years of combined experience helping victims of spinal cord injuries resulting from car accidents, motorcycle accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, accidents at amusement parks or any other kind of accident caused by someone else’s negligence recover the compensation that may be owed to them.

Throughout the years, the Miami Dade County Car Accidents Law Offices of Greenberg, Stone & Urbano have represented many clients involved in serious motor vehicle accidents that have caused spinal cord injuries. Please visit our website to learn more about our firm and contact us today for a free consultation.

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