A small tropical fish to treat neurodegenerative diseases


Edinburgh, United Kingdom - Danio rerio, a small striped fish popular in tropical aquariums, could be the key to curing diseases motoneuronales. Scientists want to understand how the fish managed to regenerate parts of his body, hoping to treat some human degenerative diseases. 

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have discovered that zebrafish can regenerate cells, such as motor, if the spine is damaged. These cells control all the muscles in humans, such as speech, walking or breathing. 

Dr Catherina Becker, the center of neuro-regeneration of the University of Edinburgh and Euan MacDonald of the Center for Disease Research motoneuronales, explains: "Understanding how the zebrafish regenerate many of its motor when the spinal cord is damaged, and how these motor cells are derived from natural strains, could help develop treatments in humans. " 

This tropical fish motoneurones produced from cells similar to stem cells of the spinal cord. Scientists seek how to stimulate the production of motoneurones in the zebrafish and ensure that the cells thus produced are capable of sending nerve messages to the brain and spinal cord to the muscles. The findings can then be transferred to humans. 

Motoneuron diseases causing paralysis and severe breathing difficulties which are often fatal. Life expectancy for sufferers is 2 to 5 years, and half of sick individuals died within 14 months of diagnosis.

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