November 08, 2002
Bacterial Enzymes Free Nerves To Grow Again

Using the enzyme chondroitinase ABC Italian and British researchers found they could free up nerve cells from a layer of sugar and protein so that they could once again spread and this may be useful for brain trauma treatments:

Pizzorusso and his team sealed one eye shut in each of about a dozen adult lab rats with otherwise perfect vision. Normally, the critical period for vision passes about five weeks after birth.

When the rats were anaesthetized and their visual cortexes given the bacterial enzyme, the biochemical digested the sugary proteins and unlocked the nerve cells, allowing them once again to grow new connections. Nerves from the sealed eye, in a case of "use it or lose it," began reaching towards the open eye and its stream of sensory input.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2002 November 08 01:14 AM  Biological Mind

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