Nanoparticles are able to restore the spinal cord after injury
According to N+1, the scientists of Michigan University have tested the power of nanoparticles on rodents. The particles enhanced the growth of new nerve fibers and helped the mice to quickly regain the partial mobility of the hind limbs. It is known that neutrophils and monocytes (immune cells) enter the zone of spinal cord injury. These cells begin to secrete pro-inflammatory compounds, leading to an increase in vascular permeability, edema formation, death of neurons, the destruction of axons myelin sheath (processes of nerve cells) and the disruption of their functioning as well.
As a result, a scar disturbing nerve conduction is formed. The inflammation can be stopped by using glucocorticoids. But these drugs have side effects (sepsis, gastrointestinal bleeding and thromboembolism). The problem is solved by using polylactide-co-glycolide nanoparticles. The particles are able to reduce the number of neutrophils and monocytes at the inflammation site. The scientists suggest that nanoparticles also reprogram immune cells.
Thus, macrophages (other immune cells) began to secrete substances typical for the tissue repairing process. Four weeks after the injury, the rodents formed a scar smaller than usual. The nanoparticles contributed to the growth of axons and the restoration of their myelin sheath at the damage site. The expression level of genes associated with regeneration was higher, and the animals’ number regained their motility was higher as well.