Scientists from The Eli & Edythe Broad Center for Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research discovered a molecular process that will accelerate the regeneration and growth of nerves. This will greatly improve the recovery process for patients with peripheral nerve injuries, Medical Express reported.
The body can restore communication in the peripheral nervous system after the injury, but this happens slowly (on average - 1 millimeter per day) and is often accompanied by pain, discomfort for the patient. And if the muscles managed to atrophy, a large amount of rehabilitation measures is required.
Back in 2010, using the example of rodents, it was found that it is quite possible to control the rate of nerve growth in the spinal cord during embryonic development - by acting on a gene known as Limk1 and controlling the rate of nerve growth by regulating the activity of cofilin protein. Cofilin is needed for the polymerization of actin. This process allows nerves to extend long filiform processes over long distances, forming neural networks.
A new study showed that Limk1 and cofilin also control the growth rate of peripheral nerves both during the development of the body and during regeneration.
One of the first things that happen to the nerve after an injury is the activation of all the processes characteristic of the early development of the body. By the way, in mice lacking Limk1, the rate of nerve growth after injury was 15% higher compared with animals from the control group.