Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protecting the brain from of a deadly genetic disease

23.02.2010
Huntington's disease (HD) is a cruel, hereditary condition that leads to severe physical and mental deterioration, psychiatric problems and eventually, death. Currently, there are no treatments to slow down or stop it.

HD sufferers are born with the disease although they do not show symptoms until late in life. In a new study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, Stephen Ferguson and Fabiola Ribeiro of Robarts Research Institute at The University of Western Ontario identified a protective pathway in the brain that may explain why HD symptoms take so long to appear. The findings could also lead to new treatments for HD.

The symptoms of Huntington's disease are caused by cell death in specific regions of the brain. Patients who have HD are born with a mutated version of the protein huntingtin (Htt), which is thought to cause these toxic effects. While researchers know HD results from this single, mutated protein, no one seems to know exactly what it does, why it does not cause symptoms until later in life, or why it kills a specific set of brain cells, even though Htt is found in every single cell in the human body.

Ferguson and Ribeiro used a genetically-modified mouse model of HD to look at the effects of mutated Htt on the brain. "We found there was some kind of compensation going on early in the life of these mice that was helping to protect them from the development of the disease," says Ferguson, director of the Molecular Brain Research Group at Robarts, and a professor in the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology at Western's Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry. "As they age, they lose this compensation and the associated protective effects, which could explain the late onset of the disease."

Ferguson adds that metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs), which are responsible for communication between brain cells, play an important role in these protective effects. By interacting with the mutant Htt protein, mGluRs change the way the brain signals in the early stages of HD in an attempt to offset the disease, and save the brain from cell death. As a result, mGluRs could offer a drug target for HD treatment.

Because HD is a dominant genetic disease, every child with an affected parent has a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the fatal condition. This research, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, sheds light on the onset of HD and the potential role of a mutant protein in patients, paving the way for the development of new drug therapies.

Kathy Wallis | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uwo.ca

Further reports about: HD symptoms Protecting apples brain cell cell death mutated protein

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth
09.12.2016 | Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

nachricht Plant-based substance boosts eyelash growth
09.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Polymerforschung IAP

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Electron highway inside crystal

Physicists of the University of Würzburg have made an astonishing discovery in a specific type of topological insulators. The effect is due to the structure of the materials used. The researchers have now published their work in the journal Science.

Topological insulators are currently the hot topic in physics according to the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Only a few weeks ago, their importance was...

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

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...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

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...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers identify potentially druggable mutant p53 proteins that promote cancer growth

09.12.2016 | Life Sciences

Scientists produce a new roadmap for guiding development & conservation in the Amazon

09.12.2016 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Satellites, airport visibility readings shed light on troops' exposure to air pollution

09.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>