Animals in Research

Zebrafish and Spinal Cord Regeneration

Location: United States
Group: Aquatics
Species: Zebrafish
Research Areas: Developmental biology, Genetic diseases, Neural regeneration

Researchers recently discovered a clue to how zebrafish self-heal spinal cord injuries. Damaged cells secrete a special growth factor that is required for regeneration in these animals. Humans have a similar growth factor, but human spinal cords do not heal when severed.  Further investigation with zebrafish may lead to the discovery of regenerative nerve therapies that can help the 450,000 people debilitated by spinal cord injuries currently in the United States.