The Spinal Cord and Spinal Cord Injury

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INTRODUCTION The spinal cord is a major channel in the body where motor and sensory information travels from the brain to the body. It has white matter that surrounds a central gray matter. The gray matter is where most of the neuronal cells are located. Injury to the spinal cord will affect the conduction of information across any part of the spinal cord where the damage is located (Maynard et al., 1997). This will often result in permanent disability of a certain muscle or region of the body (Meletis et al., 2008) and a loss of tissue where the damage is located (Peng et al., 2009). As of now, there is no treatment for spinal cord injury expect for steroids. All steroids can do is provide protect of the spinal cord from…show more content…
It is thought that during damage to the spinal cord, high levels of ATP are released that can activate the P2X7 receptor. In pure cultures, P2X7 receptor antagonist are thought to provide protect against the effects of P2X7. This is due to blocking the receptors instead of trying to stop the inflammatory effects. Because the antagonists can selectivly mediate the activation of P2X7, it is the perfect candidate for the therapeutic treatment of spinal cord injurys (Domercq et al., 2009).

Stem Cell Research Stem cells are located in the spinal cord and they are hard to identify (Konstantinos et al., 2008). Human embryonic stem cells have advantages that other cell types do not contain. They have a large capacity for differentiation and for expansion. They also help in remyelination. However, studies have shown that human embryonic stem cell derived oligodendrocyte progenitor cells can help in neuroprotection, homeostatic maintenance, suppressing inflammation, and promoting the regeneration of axons. (Sharp et al., 2010). Most of the neural stem cell potential is in ependymal cells (Meletis et al., 2008). Transplanting these oligodendrocyte progenitor cells just one week after the injury showed widespread oligodendrocyte remyelination throughout the white matter (Keirstead et al., 2005). Most spinal cord injuries in humans

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