It might be possible to reprogram and repair nerves damaged through spinal cord injury and brain trauma say researchers who have identified a mechanism for re-growing fibres in the central nervous system.
Injury to axons in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) triggers a coordinated regenerative gene expression program, but this doesn’t happen in the central nervous system (CNS).
Researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Tubingen carried out systematic epigenetic studies to show that the histone acetyltransferase p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF) is necessary for nerves to regenerate.
“Given that differential regenerative gene expression is associated with regenerative failure in the central nervous system versus regenerative potential in the peripheral nervous system we asked whether an epigenetic code would be responsible for this differential gene expression program and for the regenerative potential,” Professor Simone Di Giovanni, Chair in Restorative Neuroscience at Imperial told Laboratory News.
“Systematic investigation pointed to a role for PCAF as responsible to drive the regeneration program by acetylating specific histone H3 on regenerative genes.”
- Professor Simone Di Giovanni begins at 3:00 minutes in the video below.