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

nachricht A sudden drop in outdoor temperature increases the risk of respiratory infections
11.01.2017 | University of Gothenburg

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: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>