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Thread: Schwann cell remyelination of injured human spinal cord

  1. #1

    Schwann cell remyelination of injured human spinal cord

    In 1989, Andrew Blight and I published a paper showing Schwann cell remyelination of cat spinal cords after contusion injury. Schwann cells do not normally myelinate axons in the spinal cord and only myelinate peripheral nerves. After injury, due to damage of the spinal root entry zones, some Schwann cells can invade into the spinal cord and myelinate axons. Whether this happens in humans was not known. This study from the Miami project shows that human spinal cords have Schwann cell myelin even a decade after spinal cord injury.

    Guest JD, Hiester ED and Bunge RP (2005). Demyelination and Schwann cell responses adjacent to injury epicenter cavities following chronic human spinal cord injury. Exp Neurol 192: 384-93. The natural history of post-traumatic demyelination and myelin repair in the human spinal cord is largely unknown and has remained a matter of speculation. A wealth of experimental studies indicate that mild to moderate contusive injuries to the mammalian spinal cord evolve into a cavity with a preserved rim of white matter in which a population of segmentally demyelinated axons persists. It is believed that such injured axons have abnormal conduction properties. Theoretically, such axons might show improved function if myelin repair occurred. Schwann cells can remyelinate axons affected by multiple sclerosis, but little evidence exists that such repair can occur spontaneously following traumatic human SCI. Therefore, it is important to determine if chronic demyelination is present following human spinal cord injury. There are no previous reports that have conclusively demonstrated demyelination in the human spinal cord following traumatic spinal cord injury using immunohistochemical techniques. Immunohistochemical methods were used to study the distribution of peripheral and central myelin proteins as well as axonal neurofilament at the injury epicenter in 13 postmortem chronically injured human spinal cords 1-22 years following injury. Of these seven could be assessed by our methods. We found that some axonal demyelination can be detected even a decade following human SCI and indirect evidence that invading Schwann cells contributed to restoration of myelin sheaths around some spinal axons. Department of Neurological Surgery and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, University of Miami, Lois Pope LIFE Center, 1095 NW 14th Terrace (D4-6), Miami, FL 33136, USA.

  2. #2
    Does this help us at all?

  3. #3
    This is of interest from two perspectives. First, it indicates that the results that we had from animal studies applies to humans but over a longer term than we had ever studied in animals. Schwann cell myelination appears to be stable in human spinal cords for a decade or more. This is of interest because one of the question is whether or not Schwann cells can renew themselves in the central nervous system. They appear to be able to do so. Second, it suggests that Schwann cell myelination probably plays a major role in the remyelination and improvement of axonal conduction in the human spinal cord. And, of course, it also provides another reason why Schwann cell transplants are of interest and potentially useful for treating demyelination in human spinal cord injury.


  4. #4
    So how much of the puzzle is together?

    The corners, the outside frame?


  5. #5
    decaf, I don't understand the question. Wise.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Leo's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Yankton, South Dakota
    I'm thinking Joe means,

    so how much more before we see it tried in us.

    "All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
    Gandolf the Gray

  7. #7
    Senior Member DA's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    beaumont tx usa
    16 years...sigh.

  8. #8
    Originally posted by DA:

    16 years...sigh.
    They are still in the speculative and theoretical stage.
    Historically, it took 50 years to get from conception to completion..let's see with the
    new technologies..maybe 49.5 years is a good
    guess. You do the math.

    We do have coming enough write ups to one day
    papier mache the entire globe..might help with the global warming issues though..if there is one.

    Iowa State Veterinary School has put a call out for naturally injured SCI do a study on them with guess what..PEG.

    This is suppose to be in human trials now.
    So what are they doing and why? We of course are happy to have this study being they will do all study related activities..including
    the decompression surgery free of charge to the animal owners...but wouldn't this funding be better used in another area of study?

    Like combination therapies...or hell even these cells in this article. Or a combo of
    any that they need proof of safety and other
    proof of perhaps things can restore functions.

    I don't understand how they are going to prove any more about this one treatment then was proven in the Purdue study...and as long as decompression surgery is included and the animals are not sacrificed..which this we won't permit BTW..then if this substance is doing any good it will have to be used and
    the results compared to the function recovery of those that are not given PEG..that has all been done at Purdue.

    [This message was edited by Lindox on 03-26-05 at 02:27 PM.]

  9. #9

    Let me try an analogy that you might appreciate (everybody else should shut their eyes because this is a crazy analogy and I don't mean to suggest that I am pro-war or anything like that) but I think DA might appreciate it.

    The spinal cord injury site is like Afghanistan and the surrounding cord is like iraq. I got to send in soldiers to pacify the population so that we can get oil flowing again. There are all sorts of inhibitors to growth (Taliban, al Queda, local insurgents). I got to know if there are some good guys there who are already doing the job. It seems that Schwann cells are already there doing a good job. So, I should focus on sending in other troops. Get what I mean?

    The concept that many human spinal cords already have Schwann cells that are myelinating axons at and around the injury site is pretty important, don't you think? It raises the question whether adding more Schwann cells to the mix will do a better job?


  10. #10
    Senior Member foster's Avatar
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    Dec 2001
    bensalem Pa usa
    Is there any test that you can have done that can tell if you need remyelination? Or will everybody need remyelination? Ryan takes 4ap and without it his tone is alot greater and his movements aren't as good.

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