ABOVE: In this section of a lamprey spinal cord, regenerated axons appear green and the repaired central canal appears blue.

Lampreys can suffer a severed spinal cord twice and still rebound, according to a study published on January 30 in PLOS ONE. Within three months of the injury, these vertebrates, fish that resemble eels, return to their normal swimming and burrowing as though they were never injured. Even after repeat damage at the same spot, lampreys can regenerate their spinal cords, according to the authors. To better understand why some neurons make a comeback while others die, the authors are zooming in on individual neurons of the lampreys’ central neural system and studying their gene expression. 

K.L. Hanslik et al., “Regenerative capacity in the lamprey spinal cord is not altered after a repeated transection,” PLOS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0204193, 2019.

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