facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Penn State researchers find new path for neuron repair

Jan. 9, 2014 at 2:41 PM   |   Comments

STATE COLLEGE, Pa., Jan. 9 (UPI) -- A new pathway for repairing nerve cells could have implications for faster and improved healing after an injury, Penn State molecular biologists said.

The biologists said their findings demonstrate that dendrites, the nerve cell component that receive information from the brain, have the capacity to regrow after an injury, the State College, Pa., university said Thursday in a release.

Co-author Melissa Rolls, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at Penn State, said she and her colleagues wondered whether dendrites could regenerate after injury as do axons, the component of a neuron that sends information to other cells.

Rolls said the question of dendrite regeneration hadn't been asked in the scientific community, except for a few limited-scale studies yielding mixed results.

Using the fruit fly as a model system, the researchers cut all of the dendrites in neuron cells.

"We wanted to really push the cells to the furthest limit," she said. "By cutting off all the dendrites, the cells would no longer be able to receive information, and we expected they might die. We were amazed to find that the cells don't die."

Instead, researchers found, the cells regrow the dendrites completely and faster than they regrow axons. Also, dendrite regrowth appears to be independent of axon regrowth.

"Within a few hours they'll start regrowing dendrites," Roll said. "It's very exciting-these cells are extremely robust."

Roll said the next step would be to look for markers for dendrite regrowth "so we can learn more about what's going on during dendrite repair."

"We don't even know in what scenarios dendrite regeneration might happen in people yet because no one has known that it exists," she said.

The findings will be published in the January issue of the Cell Reports.

© 2014 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space Google exec breaks skydive record with dive from near-space
2
Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time Powerful new microscope sees cell division in real time
3
Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes Stone tools reveal Ice Age settlement in the Andes
4
Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal Coal-rich Poland wants concessions in EU climate deal
5
Dude! Company floats fly hoverboard Dude! Company floats fly hoverboard
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback