Scientists have met one of the long-standing challenges of regenerative medicine: For the first time, they have succeeded in coaxing an injured spinal cord to regenerate sensory axons in rats that reinnervate the specific place they would need to reach in order to regain function.
Human vertebral column
Image: Gray's Anatomy, via Wikipedia
However, the paper, published online in Nature Neuroscience, showed that the regenerated axons, which also formed synapses, showed little to no activity. "I think it's impressive what they've found," said linkurl:John Houle,; who studies regeneration after spinal cord injury at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia. However, he cautioned that the lack of physiological response from the regenerated structures left him "underwhelmed." Often, scientists researching regeneration achieve anatomical repair without physiological repair, "and then other times we see some behavioral recovery without any anatomical basis," said Houle, who was not involved in the research. For...
The Scientist.Correction (August 3): When originally posted, the article stated the paper was published in the current issue ofThe linkurl:article; is, in fact, an advance online publication.regrets the error.

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