Journal Article

Restoration of hand function in a rat model of repair of brachial plexus injury

Ahmed G. Ibrahim, Peter A. Kirkwood, Geoffrey Raisman and Ying Li

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 132, issue 5, pages 1268-1276
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online March 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI:
Restoration of hand function in a rat model of repair of brachial plexus injury

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  • Neurology
  • Neuroscience


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The incurability of spinal cord injury and subcortical strokes is due to the inability of nerve fibres to regenerate. One of the clearest clinical situations where failure of regeneration leads to a permanent functional deficit is avulsion of the brachial plexus. In current practice, surgical re-implantation of avulsed spinal roots provides a degree of motor recovery, but the patients neither recover sensation nor the use of the hand. In the present rat study, we show that transplantation of cultured adult olfactory ensheathing cells restores the sensory input needed for a complex, goal-directed fore-paw function and re-establishes synaptic transmission to the spinal grey matter and cuneate nucleus by providing a bridge for regeneration of severed dorsal root fibres into the spinal cord. Success in a first application of human olfactory ensheathing cells in clinical brachial plexus injury would open the way to the wider field of brain and spinal cord injuries.

Keywords: dorsal horn; spinal cord; transplantation

Journal Article.  5941 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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