Immune cells could hold key to therapies for spinal cord injuries

November 7, 2018, University of Edinburgh
Zebrafish

Fresh insights into how zebrafish repair their damaged nerve connections could aid the development of therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.

Scientists have found the immune system plays a key role in helping zebrafish nerve cells to regenerate after injury.

The findings offer clues for developing treatments that could one day help to regain movement after spinal cord injury.

Large immune cells called macrophages are vital for the fish to damaged connections, the study found.

These cells usually help the body to fight off infections but they also play a key role in wound healing.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found macrophages produce key molecules that dampen inflammation at the spinal injury site. This enables nerve cells to bridge the gap and repair lost connections.

The team from the University's Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences have established a system to study the complex interactions between immune at a spinal injury site and how they contribute to the repair of damaged nerve connections in .

The next step will be to understand how these molecules function in people.

The study was published in Nature Communications and funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

Professor Catherina Becker, of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Discovery Brain Sciences, said: "Zebrafish are interesting to us because they can regain full swimming ability after spinal cord . Our research is focused on understanding the factors involved in this process so that we can look for potential ways of developing treatments for people."

Explore further: Zebrafish study reveals clues to healing spinal cord injuries

More information: Themistoklis M. Tsarouchas et al, Dynamic control of proinflammatory cytokines Il-1β and Tnf-α by macrophages in zebrafish spinal cord regeneration, Nature Communications (2018). DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-07036-w

Related Stories

Zebrafish study reveals clues to healing spinal cord injuries

July 25, 2017
Fresh insights into how zebrafish repair their nerve connections could hold clues to new therapies for people with spinal cord injuries.

Zebrafish study offers insights into nerve cell repair mechanisms

October 22, 2015
Tropical fish may hold clues that could aid research into motor neuron disease and paralysis caused by spinal cord injury.

Watching stem cells repair spinal cord in real time

June 22, 2018
Monash University researchers have restored movement and regenerated nerves using stem cells in zebra fish where the spinal cord is severely damaged.

Introduction of a novel system for in vitro analyses of zebrafish oligodendrocyte progenitor cells

October 23, 2017
Spinal cord injuries result from a blunt or penetrating trauma. This is generally caused by accidents that occur during sport activities or when driving. Injuries of the spinal cord can lead to extreme pain (e.g. pressure ...

Could nose cells treat spinal cord injuries?

August 13, 2018
Researchers have designed a new way to grow nose cells in the lab heralding hope for sufferers of spinal cord injuries, including those who are wheelchair bound.

Cellular hitchhikers aid recovery from spinal cord injury

January 8, 2018
The healing effects of stem cells in spinal cord injury can be aided by their ability to hitch intercellular rides to specific anti-inflammatory cells called M2 macrophages, Yale researchers report.

Recommended for you

In live brain function, researchers are finally seeing red

November 12, 2018
For years, green has been the most reliable hue for live brain imaging, but after using a new high-throughput screening method, researchers at the John B. Pierce Laboratory and the Yale School of Medicine, together with collaborators ...

Mutations, CRISPR, and the biology behind movement disorders

November 12, 2018
Scientists at the RIKEN Center for Brain Science (CBS) in Japan have discovered how mutations related to a group of movement disorders produce their effects. Published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the ...

Concussion tied to suicide risk

November 12, 2018
(HealthDay)—People who have experienced either a concussion or a mild traumatic brain injury are twice as likely to commit suicide than others, a new review suggests.

Researchers identify the neural basis of threatening and aggressive behaviors in Drosophila

November 9, 2018
You can always tell when two guys are about to get into a fight. It starts with angry stares, puffed-out chests, arms tossed out to the side, and little, aggressive starts forward. Neuroscientists call the combination of ...

Multiple sclerosis: Accumulation of B cells triggers nervous system damage

November 9, 2018
B cells are important in helping the immune system fight pathogens. However, in the case of the neurological autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS), they can damage nerve tissue. When particular control cells are missing, ...

Monkey gaze study shows dopamine's role in response inhibition

November 9, 2018
University of Tsukuba researchers report the importance of the brain's dopaminergic system for inhibiting already-planned actions. They trained monkeys to redirect their gaze toward targets presented on a screen, apart from ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.