Mechanisms of Neuronal Repair Following Nerve Damage

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The normal function of the central and peripheral nervous systems depend highly on the successful functionality of afferent and efferent neurons. Neurons are cells that have the ability to transmit sensory and motor messages throughout the body. These signals are promoted by electrically insulating myelin sheaths that surround the axons of neurons. These sheaths are produced by Schwann cells and other glial cells. When a neuron is damaged, a communicative circuit is compromised and essential signals cannot be transmitted throughout the body. A major site of injury that puts many essential neurons at risk is the spinal cord, which contains many neurons essential for proper motor functionality. The spinal cord is made up of nervous tissue within spinal vertebrae. The spinal cord receives sensory information from the skin, muscles, joints, tissues, as well as other parts of the body, and then relays information to and from the brain. Injury to the spinal cord can cause dislocation of vertebrae, resulting in various paralyzing disabilities such as quadriplegia (paralysis from the neck down) or paraplegia (paralysis of the lower body). The severity of the disability depends on the location of the injury (Schwab et al. 2002). There are two main phases of spinal cord injury. The first phase is physical tissue destruction, which is followed by tissue loss caused by irregular blood supply to the injury site. Because of this disrupted blood supply,

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