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Enriched environment and astrocytes in central nervous system regeneration.

Journal article
Authors Michael Nilsson
Milos Pekny
Published in Journal of rehabilitation medicine : official journal of the UEMS European Board of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Volume 39
Issue 5
Pages 345-52
ISSN 1650-1977
Publication year 2007
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Rehabilitation
Pages 345-52
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.2340/16501977-0084
Keywords Adult, Aged, Aging, physiology, Animals, Astrocytes, physiology, Brain, cytology, physiology, Humans, Intermediate Filaments, physiology, Nerve Regeneration, physiology, Neuronal Plasticity, physiology, Spinal Cord, cytology, physiology, Stroke, pathology, physiopathology, rehabilitation
Subject categories Clinical neurophysiology, Medical cell biology

Abstract

Rehabilitation medicine is entering a new era, based on the knowledge that the central nervous system has a substantial capacity for repair and regeneration. This capacity is used in 3 distinct but overlapping situations: (i) routine housekeeping throughout life (i.e. taking care of normal wear-and-tear); (ii) older age, when functional reserves of various kinds are depleted, resulting in cognitive, motor, and other deficits; and (iii) contexts in which a neurological deficit reflects an acute or chronic pathological process, such as neurotrauma, stroke, or neurodegenerative disease. The positive message here is two-fold. First, some aspects of regeneration occur even in the adult and ageing brain and spinal cord, and we are starting to unravel the underlying molecular mechanisms. Secondly, novel therapeutic approaches and targets are emerging that will substantially increase the efficiency and efficacy of rehabilitation and will transform rehabilitation into a discipline focusing both on its traditional domain and on prevention, ultimately across all the age categories. This review attempts to sum up the present knowledge about an enriched environment, currently the single most efficient plasticity- and regeneration-promoting paradigm. It also summarizes research showing that astrocytes - considered only years ago merely to nurse and support neurones - are a novel and highly interesting target for regenerative strategies in the brain and spinal cord.

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