Treating such injuries requires clarification of how certain nerves are induced to regenerate and which molecular pathways are involved. Nerve regeneration after nerve injury is therefore an issue of special interest, but is difficult to study in humans.
To shed light on how damaged nerves are induced to regenerate, the researchers investigated various strains of roundworm in which different genes were mutated or inactivated. When certain proteins encoded by these genes were absent or dysfunctional in the worms, their nerves were less able to regenerate, particularly during adulthood. Authors believe that “Our findings should therefore lead us to targets in humans that we can use to improve recovery after nerve injury by promoting regrowth of damaged axons.”
Publication: The Core Molecular Machinery Used for Engulfment of Apoptotic Cells Regulates the JNK Pathway Mediating Axon Regeneration in Caenorhabditis elegans.