About Careers MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Promising Research for Spinal-cord Injury Treatments from U of A

by Kathy Jones on May 31, 2010 at 8:05 PM
Font : A-A+

 Promising Research for Spinal-cord Injury Treatments from U of A

An important discovery that could lead to more effective treatments for spinal-cord injuries has been made by researchers in the University of Alberta's Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Karim Fouad and David Bennett have identified one of the body's natural self-repair mechanisms that kick in after injury.

Advertisement

To help understand the discovery the researchers say it is important to first describe the neurons in the spinal cord that control muscle contractions. These neurons represent a fairly autonomous part of the nervous system that control many basic functions such as walking and bladder control. These neurons are brought into a state of readiness by a transmitter called serotonin. Serotonin originates in the brain and projects down the spinal cord where it binds to serotonin receptors on the neurons. This process turns a quiet neuron into one that's ready to respond to fast inputs from the brain.

When someone suffers a spinal-cord injury they can lose almost all serotonin projections, so it was previously thought that the serotonin receptors were inactive. But the U of A researchers found that serotonin receptors are spontaneously active after spinal-cord injury, despite the absence of serotonin. Their study shows that this receptor activity is an essential factor in the recovery of functions like walking. Fouad and Bennett say this significant discovery provides important insight into how the spinal cord responds and changes after an injury, which is essential to developing meaningful treatments.
Advertisement

But, the researchers add, there is a dark side. While the serotonin receptors remain active after injury, they are permanently turned on. Fouad and Bennett say this activity is what contributes to muscle spasms, a common problem for people with severe spinal-cord injury. The pair says the next step in helping patients who won't be able to regain control of muscle contractions is to examine how to block these serotonin receptors to stop the spasms from occurring, in particular by using already available drugs or by designing more targeted drugs.



Source: Eurekalert
RAS
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Recommended Reading

This site uses cookies to deliver our services.By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use  Ok, Got it. Close
×

Promising Research for Spinal-cord Injury Treatments from U of A Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests