AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 29, Number 1, 2020

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Researchers Identify a Protein That Is Critical for Wound Healing after a Central Nervous System Injury

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Plexin-B2, an axon guidance protein in the central nervous system (CNS), plays an important role in wound healing and neural repair following spinal cord injury (SCI), according to research conducted at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiThe study’s findings could aid the development of therapies that target axon guidance pathways for more effective treatment of SCI patients. 

Tissue repair after SCI requires the mobilization of immune and glial cells to form a protective barrier that seals the wound, facilitates debris clearing and contains inflammation. Building this barrier involves a process called corralling wherein microglia (immune cells in the CNS) and macrophages (immune cells that originate from blood) form a barrier around the lesion that separates healthy and necrotic tissue. In this study, researchers found that this corralling begins early in the healing process and requires Plexin-B2, a protein that facilitates the movement of immune cells by steering them away from colliding cells.

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