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Neurology

Eye Chemicals Instruct Severed Nerves to Regrow

21 years, 4 months ago

9050  0
Posted on Oct 10, 2002, 7 a.m. By Bill Freeman

A group of German researchers have managed to make damaged nerves regrow to fill gaps in excess of 1cm, bringing fresh hope of new treatments for spinal cord injuries. When a nerve is damaged the severed ends secrete a protein that tells the nerve not to regrow, however the researchers have discovered a way of overcoming this problem.

A group of German researchers have managed to make damaged nerves regrow to fill gaps in excess of 1cm, bringing fresh hope of new treatments for spinal cord injuries. When a nerve is damaged the severed ends secrete a protein that tells the nerve not to regrow, however the researchers have discovered a way of overcoming this problem. Experiments on the severed optic nerves of rats revealed that proteins called crystallins that are present in the lens of the eye appear to have an inhibitory effect on the protein that halts nerve regrowth. In one experiment a staggering 14mm of new nerve was produced. Three months after the experiment, roughly 30% of the nerve fibers had regenerated themselves, which according to scientists may be enough to restore some vision.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Reported by www.bbc.co.uk on the 6th December 2001

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