Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blocking single gene aids spinal cord injuries: researchers

Shutting off the function of a single gene in the body could someday help victims of spinal cord injuries avoid paralysis, researchers announced Wednesday.

The discovery potentially opens the door to new treatments and improved long-term recovery from such injuries which often result in life-long damage and sky-high rehabilitation and hospitalization costs.

Researchers said they administered a drug to lab mice and rats that shut off a specific gene which kicks in after a spinal cord injury.

The gene, Abcc8, is part of the body's protective reaction in the event of spinal cord damage.

The gene activates the Sulfonylurea receptor-1 (Sur1) protein, which can paradoxically end up inflicting more damage to the spinal cord's own cells, according to lead researcher Marc Simard of the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Sur1 uses sodium to protect cells from an excess of calcium that floods a severely injured area, but the defense mechanism sends the protein molecule into overdrive, allowing an unchecked influx of sodium into the cells, which can lead to cell death.

"By shutting down the Abcc8 gene that encodes the Sur1 protein the researchers were able to halt the self-destructive process and improve long-term recovery in spinal cord injured mice," according to a summary of the report published in Science Translational Medicine.


Source and More:
http://www.physorg.com/news191132128.html

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