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Thread: Unlike rodents, primates can grow new spinal nerve connections

  1. #1

    Unlike rodents, primates can grow new spinal nerve connections

    Unlike rodents, primates can grow new spinal nerve connections
    By Diana Gitig | Last updated November 23, 2010 4:10 PM


    In Madeline L'Engle’s fictional work The Arm of the Starfish, Calvin O’Keefe discovered a way to help mammals regenerate tissue the way starfish do. Nonfictional research has not gotten quite that far, but it might not have to. A new paper has found that rhesus macaques can spontaneously reform connections among their spinal neurons following injury.

    It has been known for some time that the mammalian spinal cord can extensively recover from partial, but not complete, injury. Although the general consensus has been that the axonal projections, which connect the neurons of the spinal cord, did not have the plasticity required to recover after injury, our heroes (the authors) thought otherwise and set out to test it.

    To do so, they gave what's called C7 lateral hemisection lesions to 5-8 year old rhesus monkeys (Macaca mulatta), which involves severing one side of the spinal cord. They then examined structural, elecrophysiological, and functional responses to the lesion at either two weeks or 4-8 months later. They focused on the corticospinal projections, which primates use for many features of fine voluntary movement.


    read...

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/...onnections.ars

  2. #2
    Wow I always thought it was the other way around, it always seems like the rodents are always walking after experimental SCI proceedures while the humans remain paralyzed. I remember Chris Reeves said once "awe to be a rat".
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  3. #3
    Senior Member KIM's Avatar
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    Does this mean that all the rat data is wrong?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by KIM View Post
    Does this mean that all the rat data is wrong?
    KIM,

    It is true that the CST does not regenerate in the rat but the rat CST is very different from the primate CST. In the rat, the CST is located in the dorsal column. In primates, it is located in the lateral column. The CST plays a more important role in movement control in primates that in rats. My former student Kai Liu recently showed that if you knock out a gene called PTEN, this allows CST in rats to undergo robust regeneration.

    I have not seen the paper and, until then, I reserve judgment on this claim that primates regenerate their CST. It would be interesting if the primate corticospinal tract does regenerate spontaneously. It may account for some of the recovery that we are seeing in people. As people here know, however, the amount of spontaneous regeneration (if it is occurring) is not enough. We need more regeneration in more people. That is of course why we need to have regenerative therapies.

    Wise.

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    Senior Member KIM's Avatar
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    What I meant is that if primates have recovery , therapies proven in rats may have better chances in humans.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by KIM View Post
    What I meant is that if primates have recovery , therapies proven in rats may have better chances in humans.
    KIM, I agree.

    What I am concerned by are the increasing calls from the public and even doctors for more primate studies. In my opinion, requiring non-human primate studies for all therapies before clinical trials is unnecessary and will hold back clinical trials. Not only are primate studies very expensive (and difficult) but they take a long time to do. As yet, there is no validated primate spinal cord injury model. Very few centers have the experience to take care of monkeys with spinal cord injury. While I am not opposed to primate studies, I don't think that requiring them for clinical trials is necessary or reasonable.

    Wise.

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