It has been a common knowledge that mammals do not have the ability to regenerate the complex nervous tissues of their body such as the spinal cord. However, a recent study published in Journal Science reveals that zebra fish might possibly hold the key for a full spinal cord repair for research into tissue repair in humans. Zebra fish, or commonly known as the "two buck wonders" in pet stores, actually have the innate ability to regenerate its severed spinal cord with its production of a special kind of protein.
A professor of cell biology at Duke University and study's senior investigator Kenneth Poss has claimed that this ability that the zebra fish possesses can actually be considered as one of nature's most remarkable features of regeneration. Poss believes that the potential conclusion that can be drawn from this discovery really plays an essential role for the world of medicine.
Additionally, in one of their statements reported by DW, experts have also revealed that currently, there are limited numbers of successful therapies available when it comes to repairing these kinds of lost tissues. So, animals like the zebra fish paves a new way for the discovery of innovative ways to stimulate regeneration. Furthermore, Poss' team had also found out that when a zebra fish has its spinal cord severed, a bridge of supporting cells forms between the two ends; which are also found to extend ten times their own length.
Daily Mail reports that that it is through this process that can create enough amount or levels of tissue; which enables the complete reverse of the paralysis. Moreover, it was also found that one of these proteins known as connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) was particularly highlighted because its levels were found rising in the supporting cells, or glia, which in turn, forms the bridge in the first two weeks following injury.
Study lead author Dr. Mayssa Mokalled allegedly said that the effect of the protein is really astounding since the fish can go from paralyzed to swimming back in the tank again. At the present time, experts highly note that more tests are required on mammals before a certain conclusion could be drawn out as to whether continuing with the CTGF method is applicable for humans as well.