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 email@example.com.
Kat Snodgrass | EurekAlert!
Drone vs. truck deliveries: Which create less carbon pollution?
31.05.2017 | University of Washington
New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.06.2017 | Information Technology