Scientists at EARA member, the University of Padua, Italy, have created a drug treatment that promotes nerve regrowth, which could reduce recovery time after injuries.
The drug targets a receptor - a structure that allows substances that fit to attach to it – that only appears after nerve damage in the peripheral nerves that control sensation, movement, and motor co-ordination.
In mice, the drug increased the ability of damaged nerves to regrow and restored limbs from paralysis, which occurred after damage of whole nerves, or upon degeneration of motor nerve terminals.
The effects of the drug can also be tested using simple experiments, such as testing to see if a mouse can hang naturally from the wire of their cage, as shown in the cover image.
“Neuronal injury and neurodegenerative disorders are major health problems, which still remain unsolved and represent an ever-growing socioeconomic problem.
The use of animal models has already underpinned enormous steps forward in clarifying the underlying causes of these conditions and will be pivotal for the discovery of new treatments and therapies.”
Marco Pirazzini from the Neuroparalysis and Neuroregeneration Lab, University of Padova.