A Swedish study with Spanish participation shows that pericytes, cells of the circulatory system, involved in the formation of scar tissue after spinal cord injury. So far this role are awarded only to astrocytes, cells that act as support to neurons. The research, published in the journal Science, is essential to manipulate the process and facilitate regeneration.
The tissue loss after injury to the central nervous system (CNS) is regenerated in a limited way. The wound is ‘covered’ with a scar, of different texture to the skin, which are abundant astrocytes, glial cells that support CNS neurons. Hence, the scar is known as ‘glial scar’.
Now researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm (Sweden), in collaboration with the National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO), have found that pericytes, cells of the blood system, also play an important role in the formation of scars.
The findings, published this week in the journal ScienceReveal that these cells divide after injury and create a mass of connective tissue, like a sewing thread it were, the lesion migrates to form the scar. The study also indicates that these cells are necessary to recover all the tissue, its absence creates ‘holes’ in it and prevents proper healing.
“Knowing the origin of the large population of cells that form scars after injury in the spinal cord is essential to manipulate the process and facilitate regeneration,” Christian told SINC Göritz, lead study author and researcher at the Department of Biology Cellular and Molecular Karolisnka Institute in Stockholm (Sweden).
For years, scientists have focused on glial cells to understand how they form scars after CNS injury and facilitate recovery of the affected tissue. After discovering that pericytes are also involved in this process, Görtiz believes that “must now be set strategies to modulate these cells and promote healing.”
For the study, researchers used genetically modified mice and observed the reaction of pericytes to a spinal cord injury for seven months. After nine days, the number of cells increased by 25% in the area of injury and two weeks later, twice. However, when scientists limited the number of pericytes, the lesions remained open.
Göritz Christian, David O. Dias, Nikolay Tomilin, Mariano Barbacid, Oleg Shupliakov, Jonas Frisen. “A pericyte Origin of Spinal Cord Scar Tissue.” Science, Vol 333, July 8, 2011. DOI: 10.1126/science.1203165
|Category: Medical Science||Tags: spinal cord|