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Keywords:

  • electric fields;
  • spinal injury;
  • neuronal galvanotropism

Abstract

An important basis for the clinical application of small DC electric current to mammalian spinal injury is the responses of neurons in culture to applied electric fields. Our recent finding that zebrafish neurons were unresponsive to applied fields prompted us to critically examine previous results. We conclude that compelling evidence for neuronal guidance and directional stimulation of growth toward either the cathode or anode in an electric field exists only for cultured Xenopus neurons, and not for any mammalian neurons. No basis for the reported success in treating spinal injury exists in the in vitro studies, and considerable research will be required if the conditions of field application in mammalian spinal injury are to be optimized. © 2007 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2008