Human neurons implanted in mice plug into spinal cord to help heal injury

Treatments for symptoms of spinal cord injuries may be a step closer, as researchers at University of California San Francisco (UCSF) have transplanted human neurons into mice with these injuries, and found that over time they made new connections in the spine, reducing chronic pain and helping the mice regain some bladder control.

Difficulties with walking may seem like the most obvious symptom of spinal cord injury, but according to a 2004 study, bladder control was ranked as the top priority for treatment by almost 20 percent of paraplegics, and 10 percent of quadriplegics. Like chronic pain, loss of bladder control is a symptom of inflammation following spinal injury, which damages inhibitory spinal circuits that use the neurotransmitter, gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). When GABA is lessened, the spine's ability to inhibit pain and control bladder function decreases.

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