Pro Anti-NoGo

Therapy may reverse stroke damage by jump-starting growth of nerve fibers

(RxWiki News) A new technique that jump-starts the growth of nerve fibers could reverse much of the damage caused by strokes.

The therapy, known as anti-Nogo-A therapy, may be used to restore function even after ischemic brain damage has occurred, according to senior author Gwendolyn Kartje, MD, PhD, and colleagues. Nogo-A is a protein that inhibits the growth of nerve fibers. In anti-Nogo therapy, an antibody disables the Nogo protein, allowing for the growth of axons in the stroke-affected side of the body and the restoration of functions lost from stroke.

Rats that had received anti-Nogo therapy in the study regained 78 percent of their ability to grab pellets nine weeks after stroke, while rats that did not receive the treatment regained 47 percent of that same ability.

Anti-Nogo-A therapy "can induce remarkable compensatory sprouting and fiber growth, indicating the responsiveness of the chronically injured brain to form new neural networks under the proper growth conditions," according to the study.

And the therapy's benefits aren't exclusive to stroke patients. The findings point to possible therapies for patients who suffer from spinal-cord injury and neurological disability due to brain damage.

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Review Date: 
December 17, 2010