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Transplantation of stem cells to restore lost sensory functions after injury to the dorsal roots

Sensory information from peripheral tissues is conveyed to the spinal cord via sensory neurons located in paired segmental dorsal root ganglia just outside the spinal cord. These neurons send their information via dorsal roots into the spinal cord. Injury to these roots, often referred to as plexus avulsion injury, can occur e.g. in traffic accidents and results in permanent loss of sensation from the affected part of the body, most often the hand and arm. Our research aims to restore the sensory functions which are lost following these injuries.

Dorsal root injury leads to the emergence of a barrier for nerve fiber growth at the interface between the dorsal root and spinal cord. As a result the injured nerve fibers are unable to re-enter the spinal cord. In our research we implant stem cells at the junction between the dorsal root and spinal cord with two different aims. i) To provide the injured dorsal root nerve fibers with a cellular environment supportive for growth into the spinal cord. ii) To generate neurons which can serve as functional relay at the dorsal root-spinal cord interface by receiving contacts from injured dorsal root nerve fibers and thereafter transmit this information into the spinal cord. In a long term perspective, our findings can help to develop novel treatment for patients who have suffered plexus avulsion injury.

 

Projektmedlemmar:

Elena Kozlova, docent

Håkan Aldskogius, prof

Mariya Koshevnikova, postdoc

Niclas König, doktorand

Ninnie Abrahamsson, BMA

Carl Trolle, projektstud

Samarbetspartners:

Richardson Leao, Inst för neurovetenskap, UU

Inst för teknikvetenskaper; Nanoteknologi och funktionella material, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Uppsala universitet

Kroatiens institut för hjärnforskning, Zagreb, Kroatien

Queen Mary University London, London, UK

 

Contact

Elena Kozlova

Group leader:

Prof. Elena Kozlova

e-mail:elena.kozlova@neuro.uu.se