Fixing broken axons — and spinal cords

Published May 1, 2020

In a spinal-cord injury, if axons are damaged that damage is permanent … or is it? Temple University researchers have found a way to regrow broken or damaged axons — and that means spinal cord and optic nerve damage might be repairable. Simply put, injecting a molecule called Lin28 into mice with those injuries caused the axons to regrow.
In mice with spinal cord injury, Lin28 injection resulted in the growth of axons to more than three millimeters beyond the area of axon damage, while in animals with optic nerve injury, axons regrew the entire length of the optic nerve tract. Evaluation of walking and sensory abilities after Lin28 treatment revealed significant improvements in coordination and sensation.