Polyethylene glycol repairs membrane damage and enhances functional recovery: a tissue engineering approach to spinal cord injury
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- Shi, R. Neurosci. Bull. (2013) 29: 460. doi:10.1007/s12264-013-1364-5
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The integrity of the neuronal membrane is crucial for its function and cellular survival; thus, ineffective repair of damaged membranes may be one of the key elements underlying the neuronal degeneration and overall functional loss that occurs after spinal cord injury (SCI). it has been shown that polyethylene glycol (PEG) can reseal axonal membranes following various injuries in multiple in vitro and in vivo injury models. in addition, PEG may also directly prevent the effects of mitochondria-derived oxidative stress on intracellular components. Thus, PEG repairs mechanically injured cells by at least two distinct pathways: resealing of the disrupted plasma membrane and direct protection of mitochondria. Besides repairing primary membrane damage, PEG treatment also results in significant attenuation of oxidative stress, likely due to its capacity to reseal the membrane, thereby breaking the cycle of cellular damage and free-radical production. Based on this, in addition to the practicality of its application, we expect that PEG may be established as an effective treatment for SCI where membrane disruption and mitochondrial damage are implicated.