Thursday, September 22, 2011

UC San Diego biologists discover genes that repair nerves after injury

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego have identified more than 70 genes that play a role in regenerating nerves after injury, providing biomedical researchers with a valuable set of genetic leads for use in developing therapies to repair spinal cord injuries and other common kinds of nerve damage such as stroke.

While scientists in recent decades have gained a good understanding of how nerve cells, or neurons, develop their connections in the developing embryo, much less is known about how adult animals and humans repair — or fail to repair — those connections when axons are damaged.

Of particular interest to the UC San Diego biologists are six genes that appear to repress the growth of axons. The scientists were also surprised to learn that some of the genes they found to be involved in the re-growth of axons were known to have other functions, such as regulating the release of neurotransmitters.

Read more: http://goo.gl/Omvcm

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