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!
Smart Data Transformation – Surfing the Big Wave
02.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT
Climate change could outpace EPA Lake Champlain protections
18.11.2016 | University of Vermont
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering