Understanding Neuronal Diversity in the Spinal Cord

Understanding Neuronal Diversity in the Spinal Cord

Scientists have long sorted these spinal neurons into what they call “cardinal” classes, a classification system based primarily on the developmental origin of each nerve cell. Being able to distinguish more precisely among spinal neurons will prove useful in identifying precisely which ones are affected by a spinal cord injury or neurodegenerative disease, key information in learning to engineer new tissue to heal the damage. The first major gene expression pattern they saw divided the spinal neurons into two types: sensory-related and motor-related. This suggested to them that one of the first steps in spinal cord evolution may have been a division of labor of spinal neurons into those two fundamentally important roles. (Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development/NIH)Spinal Cord Injury (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke/NIH)Samuel Pfaff (Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA)NIH Support: National Institute of Mental Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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