The study examined three mice groups. They were tested for indicators of stem-cell growth at post-injury intervals of 24 hours, seven days and 60 days.
As one might expect, the neural repairs or remodeling were most prominent in and near the injury for the short term, but the study also showed long-term remodeling for the injured mice at a rate five times greater than expected in the distant injury-affected areas, Kernie said.
With more research in mice and humans to confirm and build on the current findings, he said, scientists might be able to develop new human medical therapies to enhance an injured brains or spinal cords restorative capabilities.
In the long term, Kernie said, the current results also raise hopes of developing new or more effective human therapies using embryonic or adult stem cells for reducing or overcoming paralysis and other severe brain and spinal-cord injuries.
Until now, he said, this area of intensive investigation has produced only limited understanding of how a brain injury might affect the ability of the neural stem cells to multiply and repopulate or repair injured areas.