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Bridging the gap.

Bridging the gap

In the last 10 years, scientists have shown that cells in theperipheral nervous system--those outside the spinal cord and brain--are capable of limited regeneration. But it has remained much more difficult to get damaged cells in the central nervous system to heal (SN: 3/29/86, p.204).

Now, scientists at the University of California at San Diegoreport that they have successfully induced nerve cell regeneration in the brains of rats--marking the first time such regeneration has been achieved with the use of human tissue as a nerve growth medium. The researchers implanted tiny "bridges' made of human placental tissue into surgically inflicted gaps in the animals' neuronal bundles. The research team, led by neuroscientist Fred H. Gage, used placental tissue because it is rich in "promoting factors,' which normally stimulate the growth of fetal nerve fibers. The neurons grew across the placental bridge and reconnected with neurons on the other side of the surgical gap, raising hopes that some types of brain damage may someday be reparable. However, the team reports in the May 29 SCIENCE, further tests will be needed to show that the regenerated nerve cells function normally.
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Title Annotation:research on nerve cell regeneration
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 13, 1987
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