A synthetic blue dye commonly used in food coloring could protect damaged spinal cords from a second wave of injury brought on by inflammatory response to the damage, according to linkurl:a study;http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.0902531106 in this week's __Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.__ When a spine is crushed -- but not severed -- patients often gets worse two to three days after the initial injury, when inflammatory cells inundate the spinal cord. The immune cells are "recruited to clean up the mess, but if you get too many, they spit out reactive oxygen species," explained linkurl:George Dubyak;http://physiology.case.edu/faculty.php?id=39 from Case Western University in Cleveland, Ohio, who was not involved in the research. The inflammation causes additional injury to the spinal tissue, he said.
Rat treated with Brilliant blue G dye
Image: Takahiro Takano
A team led by linkurl:Steven Goldman;http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/goldmanlab/GoldmanSA.htm and linkurl:Maiken Nedergaard;http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/web/index.cfm?event=doctor.profile.show&person_id=1002438&display=for_researchers at the University of Rochester in New York was searching...

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