‘Anti-sense’ RNA aids repair of damaged nerves

Scientists have discovered that an “anti-sense” RNA (AS-RNA) is expressed after nerve injury to regulate how the damaged nerves rebuild their coating of myelin.

That myelin, like the cladding around a cable or wire, is crucial for making nerves efficient conductors.

The research, done in mice, may reveal a new opening to intervene in the process of healing peripheral nerve damage.

The research team was able to control expression of the AS-RNA in the lab and therefore the transcription factor Egr2 that prompts myelin-building Schwann cells into action, says Nikos Tapinos, an associate professor of neurosurgery in the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and senior author of the study in Cell Reports. 1

Martinez-Moreno M, O’Shea T, Zepecki J, et al. Regulation of Peripheral Myelination through Transcriptional Buffering of Egr2 by an Antisense Long Non-coding RNA. Cell Rep. 2017;20(8):1950-1963. [PubMed]

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