Fixing broken axons — and spinal cords

Published May 1, 2020

In a spinal-cord injury, if axons are dam­aged that dam­age is per­ma­nent … or is it?

Temple University researchers have found a way to regrow bro­ken or dam­aged axons — and that means spinal cord and optic nerve dam­age might be repairable.

Simply put, inject­ing a mol­e­cule called Lin28 into mice with those injuries caused the axons to regrow.

In mice with spinal cord injury, Lin28 injec­tion result­ed in the growth of axons to more than three mil­lime­ters beyond the area of axon dam­age, while in ani­mals with optic nerve injury, axons regrew the entire length of the optic nerve tract. Evaluation of walk­ing and sen­so­ry abil­i­ties after Lin28 treat­ment revealed sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments in coor­di­na­tion and sensation.

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