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Important Progress in the Research of Neural Regeneration from the Lab of Jianwu Dai

Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a serious central nervous system (CNS) trauma that results in permanent and severe disability. Crushed injury in spinal cord is clinically common which can occur subsequent to traumatic vertebral fracture, inter-vertebral disk herniation, hematoma, or neoplasia. It is often accompanied by irreversible tissue damage, limited endogenous repair, and permanent loss of motor, sensory, and autonomic functions. Cooperated with the Department of Neurosurgery of the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, Dr. Jianwu Dai’s group in Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology, CAS made important progress in the neural regeneration of spinal cord crushed injury. Brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a powerful therapeutic growth factor for crushed injury in spinal cord. But when it is injected in the body, it can easily be flushed away by the body fluid. It is a backward for its use in clinic. On the other hand, the researchers noted that when crushed injury occurred in the spinal cord, the collagen would over-express at the injury site. So they fabricated the collagen-binding BDNF which could specially bind to collagen. Thus, the accumulated collagen at the injury site would provide a binding target for CBD-BDNF to enhance its therapeutic effects.


They tested this therapy strategy in a rat spinal cord crushed injury model. From the results, they found CBD-BDNF could bind to the collagen at the injury site, and retained and concentrated at the injury site to exert its neurotrophic effect on injured tissue. Once-injection of CBD-BDNF could retained at the injury site for a longer time, and effectively improve neural regeneration, electrophysiological recovery and locomotion recovery after crushed injury in the spinal cord. Dr. Dai said that this work was of important significance in the research of curing spinal cord injury, and had potential usage in clinical application.


Co-first authors of this work were Qianqian Han from the lab of Jianwu Dai and Weibang Liang from department of neurosurgery of the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital, and will be published in Biomaterials (doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2010.07.084).