Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Link between neuronal calcium channel, mutated gene that causes Huntington’s disease identified

17.07.2003


Abnormally high calcium levels spurred on by a mutated gene may lead to the death of neurons associated with Huntington’s disease, an inherited genetic disorder, characterized by mental and physical deterioration, for which there is no known cure.



This discovery by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, published in the current issue of Neuron, sheds new light on the process that causes the selective death of neurons in the region of the brain called the striatum. Neurons in this area control emotions, body movements and several other neurological processes, including addiction.

Since the discovery of the huntingtin gene (Htt) in 1993, researchers have been searching for what actually causes certain neurons to die in the striatum, leading to the disease.


"It had not been clear why in Huntington’s only neurons in the striatum are affected," said Dr. Ilya Bezprozvanny, associate professor of physiology and senior author of the study. "We found that the mutant form of the huntingtin protein causes abnormally high calcium levels in neurons, which likely cause them to die.

"This is the first time that we have some idea about what the mutant huntingtin gene does to kill striatum neurons and opens potentially new areas for treatment of the disease."

Calcium triggers the release of neurotransmitter signals, a process that initiates communication between neurons in the brain. But too much calcium, Dr. Bezprozvanny said, kills neurons.

Researchers hope the discovery leads to the development of drugs to block the activation of a receptor linked to calcium signaling in striatal neurons, thus potentially slowing the progression of Huntington’s, Dr. Bezprozvanny said. Currently, transgenic mouse models that express the human mutant form of the Htt are being studied.

"We are going to move from biochemical and cellular studies to studies in transgenic mice to test our hypothesis," he said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study include Dr. Anton Maximov, instructor in the Center for Basic Neuroscience; Dr. Tie-Shan Tang, a postdoctoral researcher in physiology and lead author of the study; Dr. Huiping Tu, a postdoctoral researcher in physiology; and Dr. Zhengnan Wang, research associate in physiology. Researchers at the University of British Columbia also contributed.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Welch Foundation, the Huntington’s Disease Society of America and the Hereditary Disease Foundation.

Amy Shields | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.swmed.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>