Author(s): Huang DW
Axon growth inhibitors associated with myelin play an important role in the failure of axon regeneration in the adult mammalian central nervous system (CNS). Several inhibitors are present in the mature CNS. We now present a novel therapeutic vaccine approach in which the animals' own immune system is stimulated to produce polyclonal antibodies that block myelin-associated inhibitors without producing any detrimental cellular inflammatory responses. Adult mice immunized in this manner showed extensive regeneration of large numbers of axons of the corticospinal tracts after dorsal hemisection of the spinal cord. The anatomical regeneration led to recovery of certain hind limb motor functions. Furthermore, antisera from immunized mice were able to block myelin-derived inhibitors and promote neurite growth on myelin in vitro.