|MadSci Network: Neuroscience|
Nerve cells or neurons regenerate differently in different parts of the nervous system. In the central nervous system (CNS), your brain and spinal cord, they typically do not regenerate. In the peripheral nervous system they are able to regenerate. This is why spinal cord injuries leave people paralyzed for life, whereas a severed hand or foot can be re-attached and regain a great deal of function after several months. Peripheral nerves are known to grow along the path of the severed nerves. The supporting cells (Schwaan cells) of the peripheral nerves are also known to release substances called growth factors that let the growing nerve cells continue to the appropriate location an support its regrowth. For a good and concise tutorial on this visit: http://www.physiol.usyd.edu.au/daved/teaching/injury.html Admin Note: Also, see these previous MadSci Answers by Annette Lewis and James Goss. -- RJS
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Neuroscience.