From the Journal of Experimental Biology (via EurekAlert!), a very encouraging story entitled “CHITOSAN REPAIRS DAMAGED SPINAL CORD” . The story references a paper published by JEB in January, entitled “Chitosan produces potent neuroprotection and physiological recovery following traumatic spinal cord injury” . The abstract of the paper:
Chitosan, a non-toxic biodegradable polycationic polymer with low immunogenicity, has been extensively investigated in various biomedical applications. In this work, chitosan has been demonstrated to seal compromised nerve cell membranes thus serving as a potent neuroprotector following acute spinal cord trauma. Topical application of chitosan after complete transection or compression of the guinea pig spinal cord facilitated sealing of neuronal membranes in ex vivo tests, and restored the conduction of nerve impulses through the length of spinal cords in vivo, using somatosensory evoked potential recordings. Moreover, chitosan preferentially targeted damaged tissues, served as a suppressor of reactive oxygen species (free radical) generation, and the resultant lipid peroxidation of membranes, as shown in ex vivo spinal cord samples. These findings suggest a novel medical approach to reduce the catastrophic loss of behavior after acute spinal cord and brain injury.
 Knight, K. 2010. “CHITOSAN REPAIRS DAMAGED SPINAL CORD“. J. of Exp. Biol. 213:i-a. DOI:10.1242/jeb.045039.
 Cho, Y., Shi, R., Borgens, R. “Chitosan produces potent neuroprotection and physiological recovery following traumatic spinal cord injury“. J. of Exp. Biol. 213:1513-1520. DOI:10.1242/jeb.035162