House of Mind

"Biology gives you a brain. Life turns it into a mind" - Jeffrey Eugenides

  • 19th November
    2012
  • 19
How does regeneration happen in the adult central nervous system?
But first, how do neuronal injuries happen? Long-term structural and functional deficits occur in the adult central nervous system (CNS) following a) specific traumatic or b) a chemotoxic event or as a result of ongoing degenerative processes (like those occurring in degenerative disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.) In cases of severe injury, the damage cannot be overcome or repaired by surviving systems and and may induce cellular deficits including: demyelination, which may result in poor conduction; axonal retraction or degeneration; aberrant sprouting in which the axon reconnects to an inappropriate target; and cell death. 
Fortunately, adult CNS neurons have regenerative capabilities given the right environment- one that supports regeneration. However, regeneration in the adult central nervous system is a multistep process and several criteria need to be met before functional regeneration can be validated.  
1. The injured neuron must survive.
2. The neuron’s damaged axon must extend its processes to its original targets.
3.  After contact, the axon needs to be re-myelinated. 
4. Formation of functional (aka working) synapses on the surface of the targeted neurons. 
Descriptive tests can be used to determine the survival and integrity of the injured system, whether axonal regeneration is present, and if appropriate synaptic connections and remyelination have occurred. The goal is to correlate the descriptive data with direct physiological and behavioural evidence for regeneration. Electrophysiological and pharmacological intervention can be used to assess the function and specificity of the regenerated pathway. Ultimately, elimination of the regenerated pathway (for example, retransection) is important to determine its role in any reported functional recovery.
Source: 
Horner and Gage (2000) Regenerating the damaged central nervous system. Nature 407, 963-970. 

How does regeneration happen in the adult central nervous system?

But first, how do neuronal injuries happen? Long-term structural and functional deficits occur in the adult central nervous system (CNS) following a) specific traumatic or b) a chemotoxic event or as a result of ongoing degenerative processes (like those occurring in degenerative disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease.) In cases of severe injury, the damage cannot be overcome or repaired by surviving systems and and may induce cellular deficits including: demyelination, which may result in poor conduction; axonal retraction or degeneration; aberrant sprouting in which the axon reconnects to an inappropriate target; and cell death

Fortunately, adult CNS neurons have regenerative capabilities given the right environment- one that supports regeneration. However, regeneration in the adult central nervous system is a multistep process and several criteria need to be met before functional regeneration can be validated.  

1. The injured neuron must survive.

2. The neuron’s damaged axon must extend its processes to its original targets.

3.  After contact, the axon needs to be re-myelinated. 

4. Formation of functional (aka working) synapses on the surface of the targeted neurons. 

Descriptive tests can be used to determine the survival and integrity of the injured system, whether axonal regeneration is present, and if appropriate synaptic connections and remyelination have occurred. The goal is to correlate the descriptive data with direct physiological and behavioural evidence for regeneration. Electrophysiological and pharmacological intervention can be used to assess the function and specificity of the regenerated pathway. Ultimately, elimination of the regenerated pathway (for example, retransection) is important to determine its role in any reported functional recovery.

Source: 

Horner and Gage (2000) Regenerating the damaged central nervous system. Nature 407, 963-970. 

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