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Rev Neurol. 2012 Aug 1;55(3):157-66.

[Lampreys as an animal model in regeneration studies after spinal cord injury].

[Article in Spanish]

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Departamento de Biología Celular y Ecología, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, A Coruña, España.


Spinal cord injuries are an important sanitary and economical problem for the society. In mammals, including humans, a traumatic injury to the spinal cord leads to a loss of motor and sensorial function, which is irreversible due to the low regenerative ability of the central nervous system. In contrast to mammals, functional recovery occurs spontaneously after a complete spinal cord transection in lampreys. Functional recovery occurs because in these animals about 50% of the reticulospinal axons regenerate after injury and also because of the occurrence of processes of reorganization and plasticity of the spinal circuits. In this review, we first analyze the characteristics and regeneration ability of lampreys as compared to mammals. Then, we compile the knowledge about the process of recovery after a spinal cord injury acquired in studies using the lampreys as animal model and finally we provide some general perspectives about the molecular processes implicated in regeneration that can be investigated in a very advantageous way in this animal model and which knowledge could allow to develop new therapies for patients suffering spinal cord injury.

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