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Zebrafish have a remarkable ability to heal their damaged nerve fibers following a spinal injury.

Jul 28, 2017
The Scientist Staff

In this time lapse video, axons (red filaments, indicated by white arrows) are seen sprouting across an injured site in a zebrafish spinal cord. UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH Zebrafish can regrow their damaged nerves. Scientists in the U.K. recently demonstrated that this regenerative capacity is due to a particular signaling pathway within the extracellular matrix that builds up around the injured site.

"In people and other mammals, the matrix in the injury site blocks nerves from growing back after an injury. We have now pinpointed the signals that remove this roadblock in zebrafish, so that nerve cells can repair connections that are lost after damage to the spinal cord," says study author Thomas Becker of the University of Edinburgh in a news release.   

See D. Wehner et al., “Wnt signaling controls pro-regenerative Collagen XII in functional spinal cord regeneration in zebrafish,” Nature Communications, 8:126, 2017.

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