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Regina Bailey

Nerve Regeneration

By February 23, 2012

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DRG Cells
Credit: University of Rochester Medical Center

Researchers have developed a method for repairing severely damaged nerve cells through nerve transplantation. Using nerve cells called dorsal root ganglion neurons, or DRG cells, the researchers were able to regenerate nerves that did not arouse an immune response. In the study, hollow collagen tubes were used as pathways for transplanting nerve cells. It was discovered that when DRG cells were included in the process, the regenerated nerves were healthier and less likely to attract attention from immune cells than other cells.

According to researcher Jason Huang, "Our long-term goal is to grow living nerves in the laboratory, then transplant them into patients and cut down the amount of time it takes for those nerves to work." It is hoped that the method applied in the study can be used to transplant nerves in those who suffer serious injuries such as gun shot wounds and stabbings. These types of injuries often create damaged nerves that are separated over long distances. Treatment often requires nerve transplantation from sources other than the patient. These transplants commonly provoke an immune response as the nerves are foreign to the body.

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