Regrowth of optic nerve cells achieved

December 1, 2008

It may be possible to regenerate optic neural axons by manipulating growth control pathways, according to study results published in the 7 November issue of the journal Science.

It may be possible to regenerate optic neural axons by manipulating growth control pathways, according to study results published in the 7 November issue of the journal Science.

Zhigang He, PhD, BM of the Children's Hospital, Boston, US and colleagues removed a single regulator from retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) of wild-type adult mice in vivo. The receptor, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN), is implicated in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway.

The team found that removing PTEN was associated with inhibition of mTOR activity and protein synthesis, which prevented axon regeneration. When the mTOR pathway was reactivated by a different regulator, axon regeneration was resumed.

The researchers therefore concluded that modulating growth control pathways could potentially encourage axon regeneration, offering a possible therapeutic solution to optic nerve damage.