LA JOLLA – Spinal cord injury researchers from UC San Diego have announced a major advance in reconnecting nerve endings, which could lead to the reverse of paralysis in patients. The findings were published in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
Performing experiments on rats, scientists at the UCSD School of Medicine have, for the first time, successfully reconnected severed axons – parts of nerve cells that conduct electrical impulses. Using a nervous system growth factor called neuroptophin, researchers were able to guide severed axon endings to a correct paired axon ending and bond. This bonding formed electrical connections called synapses.