Blind tadpoles were able to process visual information from eyes grafted onto their tails after being treated with a small molecule neurotransmitter drug that augmented innervation, integration, and function of the transplanted organs. The work, which used a pharmacological reagent already approved for use in humans, provides a potential road map for promoting innervation -- the supply of nerves to a body part -- in regenerative medicine.
The researchers sought to better understand how the nascent nerves of re-grown or implanted structures integrate into a host. A lack of innervation and integration can be a barrier in regenerative medicine, particularly for sensory organs that must form connections with the host to communicate auditory, visual and tactile information.
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