The benefits of the waiting game

Axonal regrowth following a spinal cord injury is limited and has its peak in intensity immediately after the injury. But, in December 1 Journal of Neuroscience, Jean Coumans and colleagues from Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, show that delaying treatment with transplants and exogenous neurotrophic factors after spinal cord injury results in more permissive conditions for spinal cord regeneration and functional recovery.Coumans et al. used rats with medullar transection tha

By | December 6, 2001

Axonal regrowth following a spinal cord injury is limited and has its peak in intensity immediately after the injury. But, in December 1 Journal of Neuroscience, Jean Coumans and colleagues from Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, show that delaying treatment with transplants and exogenous neurotrophic factors after spinal cord injury results in more permissive conditions for spinal cord regeneration and functional recovery.

Coumans et al. used rats with medullar transection that received fetal spinal cord transplants and neurotrophins to influence axonal regeneration. They found that animals that received transplant and neurotrophins 2-4 weeks after the injury showed significantly better regeneration from supraspinal pathways and better recovery of motor function than animals that received the treatment immediately after the injury (J Neurosci 2001, 21:9334-9344).

"These findings suggest that opportunity for intervention after spinal cord injury may be far greater than originally envisioned and that CNS neurons with long-standing injuries may be able to reinitiate growth, leading to improvement in motor function," concluded Coumans.

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