Study Shows Enhancing Neuronal Activity Promotes Axon Regeneration in Adults

Hong Kong (Scicasts) — Scientists from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) demonstrated that axon regenerative capacity can be boosted with the right stimulants on neuronal activity through either an optogenetic or a chemogenetic approach. Damage to axons in the central nervous system (CNS) typically results in permanent functional deficits. Boosting intrinsic growth programs can dramatically augment the axon regeneration of injured neurons. If injured neurons can regenerate sufficient number of axons, the CNS may recover and overcome such functional deficits. The researchers found that overexpression of a photopigment, melanopsin, in retinas could enhance neuronal firing of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and promote axonal regeneration after optic nerve crush by activating mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. Axon regeneration can also be promoted by activating Gq signaling…


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