Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2023


Spinal cord injury is a debilitating condition because the mammalian CNS cannot regenerate. In contrast, zebrafish can fully recover from a spinal cord transection due to the regenerative abilities of bridging glia. Bridging glia are cells in the spinal cord that undergo epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and acquire an elongated bipolar morphology, which allows them to connect the severed ends of the spinal cord after injury. Here, we attempt to reprogram human fetal astrocytes (HFA), a type of mammalian glia with the molecular signature closest to bridging glia, into bridging glia by shifting their morphology toward decreased branching and increased cell length. To achieve elongation, HFAs were treated with key bridging factors activated during EMT or allopregnanolone, a progesterone-derived neurosteroid expressed by glia. Elongation was assessed via branch length analysis. This project provides a potential approach for increasing the regenerative capacity of the human CNS.



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