Friday, November 23, 2012

Veterinary Highlights: Walking Again After Nose Cells Transplant

A pioneering new treatment, developed at the University of Cambridge, is allowing paralyzed dogs to walk again. And the secret?

Cells from dogs' noses.



What do nose cells have to do with spinal cords? One thing that the olfactory system can do that other nerve fibers cannot, is to regenerate. In the nose, there are unique cells, olfactory ensheathing cells, which take care of the regeneration.

Transplanted to the spinal cord, they can do the same thing there.

Cellular changes associated with the advance of the regenerating cut corticospinal tract axons (black)
across lesions (grey) repaired with transplants of olfactory ensheathing cells.
Image Nature Reviews Neuroscience
In the study, transplanting these cells to a damaged spinal cord resulted in significant improvement. All dogs, paralyzed as a result of severe spinal injuries, injected with these cells, had improved mobility and some also regained bowel and bladder control.

That is seriously exciting stuff!

Source article:
Dogs Paralyzed By Spine Damage Walk Again After Nose Cell Transplants

Further reading:
Nose cell transplant enables paralysed dogs to walk 
Repair of neural pathways by olfactory ensheathing cells
Olfactory ensheathing cell biology

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