Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New understanding of brain chemistry could prevent brain damage after injury

16.05.2011
A protective molecule has been identified in the brain which, if used artificially, may prevent brain damage from the likes of stroke, head injury and Alzheimer's.

By looking at what happens in the brain after an injury, new research has finally ended speculation over whether a key molecule, 'KCC2' causes brain cell death after an injury or prevents it. The finding, published today (16th May 2011) in The Journal of Physiology now opens the door to the development of artificial forms of the compound which could provide 'neuroprotection' to those who have suffered a brain injury – to prevent further damage.

Lead author of the research Dr Igor Medina from the Université de la Méditerranée said: "Neuron damage can result from acute events such as stroke, epilepsy or head injury or by chronic degeneration found in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

"When brain tissue is damaged, cells often continue to die after the initial stimulus has stopped. So it is important to find a way of stopping this cascade of cell death."

KCC2 is known as a 'neuronal membrane transporter' and plays a valuable role in regulating brain cell growth and their connections with other neurons. Previous research has shown that the level of KCC2 drops drastically after the brain has been injured, but it was unknown whether this drop was causing the damage to the cells, or was decreasing because of it.

"The destiny of neurons in a damaged brain depends on a tiny equilibrium between pro-survival and pro-death signals. We wanted to know what KCC2 was signalling for – was it killing neurons or protecting them after an injury? Our study has found that KCC2 actually rescues the damaged cells."

The team studied damaged neurons from the hippocampus region of the brain, an area responsible for attention, spatial memory and navigation. They removed KCC2 altogether from damaged cells and found they died. But when they artificially increased the levels of KCC2 (by stimulating its expression using gene therapy), they found the damaged cells were protected from further damage, and death.

Dr Medina continued: "The death of neurons in the brain can be triggered by an imbalance of oxygen – known as oxidative damage, or where cells are incorrectly instructed to die by a neurotransmitter – a process known as excitotoxicity. KCC2 protects against both. It's really encouraging that we have identified a means of potentially protecting the brain from these common conditions."

Now the protective function of KCC2 is known, scientists can look at ways to maintain its levels in the brains of injured patients and prevent the cascade of damage that occurs. This could be achieved pharmaceutically, to naturally increase the levels of KCC2, or with gene therapy to introduce artificial KCC2.

"Neuroprotective agents that may stem from this research would benefit the victims of car crashes, stroke and those suffering with epilepsy, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's – it's a major focus for further studies," concluded Dr Medina.

Clare Kingston | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wiley.com

Further reports about: Alzheimer Parkinson brain cell cell death gene therapy

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Real-time feedback helps save energy and water
08.02.2017 | Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg

nachricht The Great Unknown: Risk-Taking Behavior in Adolescents
19.01.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>