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J Neurosci. 2004 Jul 14;24(28):6402-9.

Combinatorial therapy with neurotrophins and cAMP promotes axonal regeneration beyond sites of spinal cord injury.

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Department of Neurosciences, University of California at San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0626, USA.


Previous attempts to promote regeneration after spinal cord injury have succeeded in stimulating axonal growth into or around lesion sites but rarely beyond them. We tested whether a combinatorial approach of stimulating the neuronal cell body with cAMP and the injured axon with neurotrophins would propel axonal growth into and beyond sites of spinal cord injury. A preconditioning stimulus to sensory neuronal cell bodies was delivered by injecting cAMP into the L4 dorsal root ganglion, and a postinjury stimulus to the injured axon was administered by injecting neurotrophin-3 (NT-3) within and beyond a cervical spinal cord lesion site grafted with autologous bone marrow stromal cells. One to 3 months later, long-projecting dorsal-column sensory axons regenerated into and beyond the lesion. Regeneration beyond the lesion did not occur after treatment with cAMP or NT-3 alone. Thus, clear axonal regeneration beyond spinal cord injury sites can be achieved by combinatorial approaches that stimulate both the neuronal soma and the axon, representing a major advance in strategies to enhance spinal cord repair.

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