A protein called fibrinogen that is known to help form blood clots also triggers scar formation in the brain and spinal cord, according to new research in the April 28 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. Researchers found that fibrinogen carries a dormant factor that activates when it enters the brain after an injury, prompting brain cells to form a scar. Scars in the brain or spinal cord can block connections between nerve cells and often keep injury patients from reaching full recovery.
A fundamental question in studies of damage to the central nervous system has been the origin of the first signal for scar growth. In this study, a group of neuroscientists led by Katerina Akassoglou, PhD, of the Gladstone Institutes at the University of California, San Francisco, looked at molecules in the bloodstream.
"Our study shows that a blood clotting factor is an important player in glial scar formation," Akassoglou said. Current treatments to improve nerve cell regeneration after injury focus on minimizing existing scar tissue; this new result suggests that suppressing these blood proteins might be a way to stop scars from even forming, Akassoglou said.
After a traumatic injury in the nervous system, such as a stab wound or stroke, fibrinogen leaks from damaged blood vessels into the brain and scar tissue begins to form. This process cordons off the wounded area, but also prevents nerve cells from reconnecting and communicating with one another. Rewired nerve cells are essential if a patient is to regain normal function.
To determine what role fibrinogen plays in scar formation, the researchers used a mouse model of brain trauma. When fibrinogen was effectively removed from the blood stream, the mice had dramatically smaller scars after injury. The authors found that fibrinogen carries an inactive type of scar-inducing substance called TGF-ß that switches "on" when it encounters local cells in the brain. When the brain pathways associated with TGF-ß were blocked, scars didn't form.
"These new findings offer an entirely new avenue to explore potentially important therapeutic agents that interfere with this interesting function of fibrinogen," said Jerry Silver, PhD, of Case Western Reserve University, who was unaffiliated with the study. "This is the first time that a major blood-associated trigger of reactive scar-forming cells has been reported in the literature."
The research was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke of the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the German Research Foundation.
The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of more than 40,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. Akassoglou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kat Snodgrass | EurekAlert!
Win-win strategies for climate and food security
02.10.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research