A previously unappreciated phenomenon has been reported in which the location of injury to a neuron’s communication wire in the spinal cord — the axon — determines whether the neuron simply stabilizes or attempts to regenerate. The study demonstrates how advances in live-imaging techniques are revealing new insights into the body’s ability to respond to spinal cord injuries.
In this study, senior author Binhai Zheng, PhD, associate professor of neurosciences, first author Ariana O. Lorenzana, PhD, and colleagues used a sophisticated optical imaging technique that allows them to directly visualize the spinal cord in living mouse models. With this approach, the researchers were able to systematically examine the effects of axon injury location on degeneration and regeneration of the injured branch.
1.Binhai Zheng, PhD et al. A Surviving Intact Branch Stabilizes Remaining Axon Architecture after Injury as Revealed by In Vivo Imaging in the Mouse Spinal Cord. Neuron, April 2015 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.03.061