Nanoparticles can help restore spinal cord after injury

July 11, 2019  20:30

Nanoparticles can be effective in restoring the spinal cord after an injury, said scientists from the University of Michigan.

They tested the effectiveness of nano-cleaners on rodents with back injuries. As it turned out, these particles enhanced the growth of new nerve fibers and helped the mice to quickly regain the partial mobility of the hind legs.

As is well known, neutrophils and monocytes, immune cells that begin to secrete pro-inflammatory compounds, enter the zone of spinal cord injury in the event of injury. This leads to an increase in vascular permeability, to the appearance of edema, as well as to the death of neurons, destruction of the myelin sheath of the processes of nerve cells (which are known as axons) and disruption of their functioning. A scar is formed in the damaged area that disrupts nerve conduction.

According to scientists, inflammation can be stopped by using glucocorticoids. But these drugs can lead to undesirable side effects, such as sepsis, gastrointestinal bleeding and thromboembolism.

But the use of nanoparticles from PLGA cannot lead to such side effects. Such particles help to reduce the number of neutrophils and monocytes at the site of inflammation, preventing all further problems arising from inflammation. Scientists suggest that nanoparticles also reprogram immune cells.

During the study, scientists noticed that four weeks after injury, a scar was formed in rodents that was smaller than usual. Nanoparticles contributed to the growth of axons and the restoration of their myelin sheath at the site of damage. The level of expression of genes associated with regeneration was higher, and they were more likely to regain mobility than those rodents that did not receive nanoparticles.

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