Scientists from the Burke Medical Research Institute were among the authors of a recent research paper centered on nerve fiber growth and regeneration in the central nervous system following injury.

Jian Zhong, PhD, director of Molecular Regeneration and Neuroimaging at Burke Medical Research Institute, led the study along with Kevin J. O’Donovan, PhD, Kaijie Ma, BS, and Henghcang Guo, PhD. In the study’s abstract, the researchers state that activation of intrinsic growth programs that promote developmental axon growth may also facilitate axon regeneration in injured adult neurons.

To this end, the abstract states that the researchers demonstrate that conditional activation of B-RAF kinase alone in mouse embryonic neurons is sufficient to drive the growth of long-range peripheral sensory axon projections in vivo in the absence of upstream neurotrophin signaling.

The researchers also state in the abstract that, “We further show that activated B-RAF signaling enables robust regenerative growth of sensory axons into the spinal cord after a dorsal root crush as well as substantial axon regrowth in the crush-lesioned optic nerve.”

The abstract goes on to state that the blend of B-RAF gain-of-function and PTEN loss-of-function promotes optic nerve axon extension beyond what would be predicted for a simple additive effect. The researchers then conclude that cell-intrinsic RAF signaling is a crucial pathway promoting developmental and regenerative axon growth in the peripheral and central nervous systems.

Source(s): The Rockefeller University, Burke Medical Research Institute