You are viewing AANS Neurosurgeon Volume 27, Number 2, 2018. View our current issue, Volume 27, Number 4, 2018

AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 27, Number 2, 2018

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Researchers Find Immune Cells Help Rebuild Damaged Nerves

Immune cells are normally associated with fighting infection but in a new study, scientists have discovered how they also help the nervous system clear debris, clearing the way for nerve regeneration after injury. Researchers from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine showed certain immune cells—neutrophils—can clean up nerve debris, while previous models have attributed nerve cell damage control to other cells entirely.

“This finding is quite surprising and raises an important question: do neutrophils play a significant role in nerve disorders?” said Richard Zigmond, PhD, senior author on the study and professor of neurosciences, neurosurgery, and pathology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. Neutrophils are one of the most common types of immune cells and known to engulf microorganisms, but they are not normally associated with peripheral nerve damage, such as that caused by diabetes or trauma.

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