We are always looking for new developments that can lead to spinal cord injury (SCI) recovery and press releases like this one are a great incentive to keep looking.
The PLoS Medicine site reports that researchers studying spinal cord injuries in mice found that chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG) is needed for the repair of the neurons that will facilitate the regaining of movement, but after time, it actually hinders a full nervous system recovery. In studies on mice, the researchers allowed CSPG to act uninhibited for two days after the injury before interfering and by doing this, created a promising response in the animals.
Heavily secreted after an injury, CSPG helps to form glial scars after a SCI. These scars protect the damaged areas, but they also release chemicals that work to prevent further regeneration in the nervous system. Because of its link to preventing axonal development, researchers were focused on eliminating CSPG from the injured area.
This compounded data suggests that eliminating CSPG may not be the best answer, and scientists are opting instead to control it. CSPG has a place in the healing process as it regulates the local immune response which is vital for proper healing.
So far studies only extend to animals, not humans, but there are similar enough correlations between spinal cord repair processes that it’s believed this research can soon be applied to human subjects.