Paralyzed mice with spinal cord injury made to walk again

A cross section of a mouse spinal cord, stained two different ways, showing increased expression of KCC2 in inhibitory neurons. This increased expression correlated with improved motor function, including ankle movement and stepping. Credit: Zhigang He Lab, Boston Children's Hospital

Most people with spinal cord injury are paralyzed from the injury site down, even when the cord isn’t completely severed. Why don’t the spared portions of the spinal cord keep working? Researchers now provide insight into why these nerve pathways remain quiet. They also show that a small-molecule compound, given systemically, can revive these circuits in paralyzed mice, restoring their ability to walk.

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Paralyzed mice with spinal cord injury made to walk again