This study looks at what happens differently in humans versus other animals to explain why they can successfully regenerate neurons while we instead form scar tissue. By learning from the similarities and differences, researchers hope to find new leads in the treatment of spinal cord injury.
An endangered amphibian called axolotl, or also known as the Mexican salamander, shows a remarkable ability to regenerate nerves after damage.
When an axolotl suffers a spinal cord injury, nearby cells called glial cells kick into high gear, proliferating rapidly and repositioning themselves to rebuild the connections between nerves and reconnect the injured spinal cord. By contrast, when a human suffers a spinal cord injury, the glial cells form scar tissue, which blocks nerves from ever reconnecting with each other.