Researchers restore neural connections in zebra fish

Monday, June 8, 2020 - 12:00 in Biology & Nature

Harvard University researchers have developed an engineering technique to precisely control the direction that neurons grow their axons, cable-like structures that allow nerve cells to connect with each other. In a zebrafish model, researchers used the approach to correct defective neural connections and restore the neuron’s ability to cause muscle contractions. The findings, published in the journal Developmental Cell, represent a key step toward repairing nervous system damage in patients. They may also enable scientists to create more accurate models of the brain in a lab dish, by instructing the formation of precise neuronal connections resembling those of the actual brain. “The process of establishing connections between neurons mostly occurs during embryonic development, especially in mammals like us. After that point, if these connections are severed in situations such as spinal cord injury, the neurons typically do not regrow their connections, losing functionality. It would be a great achievement to be able...

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