July 2018 - US and Italian researchers discover cell activity that affects spinal cord injury

Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute, in collaboration with the Fondazione Santa Lucia IRCCS in Rome  have discovered a new disease-specific role in FAP cells in the development of muscle tissue wasting, indicating a potential new avenue for treating motor neuron diseases including spinal cord injury, ALS and spinal muscular atrophy.

When a muscle is acutely injured -- whether through accidental strain or intentional weight lifting -- special repair cells called fibro-adipogenic progenitors (FAPs) rush to the rescue. These cells coordinate the activity of the immune system and muscle stem cells to replace and repair the torn tissue. The scientists discovered these same cells change radically in models of spinal cord injury, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy.

You can read a description of the research in Science Daily

The original findings were published in Nature Cell Biology in July 2018.