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Thread: Spinal injuries and stem cell scarring

  1. #1
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    Spinal injuries and stem cell scarring

    [SIZE=14px]The formation of scar tissue is a normal part of healing, but one that is often viewed as an unfortunate side effect. Researchers from Sweden are challenging this view, saying that stem cell scarring following a spinal injury actually helps recovery.[/SIZE]
    [SIZE=14px]Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet report, in the journal Science, that in spinal injuries, stem cell scarring "blocks" the spread of the damage, stopping the lesion from expanding and helping injured nerve cells recover.
    http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/268292.php

    What is your opinion on this Wise?[/SIZE]


  2. #2
    #LHB#,

    Thanks for the post. I believe that the glial cell proliferation that occurs in the spinal cord and brain after injuries is beneficial and not deleterious. There is ample evidence now from many of the best laboratories that stopping the gliosis that occurs after injury actually makes the spinal cord worse. This has been reported by the Sofroniew laboratory at UCLA for over a decade. I am glad that Professor Frisen's laboratory at the Karolinska is confirming and extending this work.

    Now, this finding alone does not mean that "glial scar" does not play a role in preventing regeneration. The work just shows that glial cells are important for limiting acute tissue damage, particularly the invasion of inflammatory cells into surrounding spinal cord. Glial cells form the blood brain barrier and play an important role in segregating the central nervous system from the rest of the body, including the immune system.

    Other data have shown that glial scars do not prevent regeneration. Studies by Kai Liu, Paul Lu, Mary Bunge, and others have shown that axons can and will grow through areas of gliosis. From these studies, we know that glial scars are neither necessary nor sufficient to stop regeneration. They may prevent regeneration in certain circumstances and it is important to understand how, why, and when glial cells block regeneration.

    Finally, I have suggested several times now that we should reserve the term "glial scar" only for the phenomenon when fibroblasts are growing with astrocytes. Glial cell proliferation should not be called "glial scar". It should be, in my opinon, be called gliosis. To me, scar means a tissue that has collagen and fibroblasts (skin cells). I realize that these may seem to be just semantics but I became concerned when I heard people say that they want to "cut the scar out of the spinal cord".

    Wise.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the response Wise. The body might just know what its doing after all.

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