EPFL (Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland and UCLA (University of California in Los Angeles, California) have collaborated in making severed nerve fibers regenerate across a complete SCI to form a bridge in rodents. Their three part recipe for success was reported in Nature, but the first component that stimulates the growth of neurons happens two weeks before injury in their model. The rodents did not recover functional walking. The scientists will also have to learn the requirements for the axons to make their appropriate connections with the locomotor circuits below the injury. That will entail rehabilitation with electrical stimulation to integrate, tune and make the new axons functional so the rodents can walk. This is not close to clinical translation, but is a very productive collaboration project heading in the right direction toward regeneration. (cp)
Required growth facilitators propel axon regeneration across complete spinal cord injury. Nature, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0467-6
Authors: Mark A. Anderson, Timothy M. O’Shea, Joshua E. Burda, Yan Ao, Sabry L. Barlatey, Alexander M. Bernstein, Jae H. Kim, Nicholas D. James, Alexandra Rogers, Brian Kato, Alexander L. Wollenberg, Riki Kawaguchi, Giovanni Coppola, Chen Wang, Timothy J. Deming, Zhigang He, Gregoire Courtine, Michael V. Sofroniew.