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Enzyme injection restores breathing control in rats with spinal cord injuries
When the spinal cord is injured, nerves that help regulate breathing also get damaged and eventually get covered in scar tissue. It all leads to severe breathing problems that worsen over time. But by injecting an enzyme into the spines of rats with spinal cord injuries, researchers showed they could restore the rodents’ ability to control their breathing, they reported in Nature Communications. The researchers injected the enzyme, chondroitinase ABC, into a region called the phrenic motor pool a year and a half after the rats’ spines were injured, and found that it helped clear the scar tissue and enabled the nerves to be repaired. The research has so far just been done in rodents, but the rats' control over their breathing lasted for six months after the injection.