Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lithium may protect neurons from radiation therapy

11.10.2004


Drug may help prevent learning, memory deficits caused by treatment for brain tumors



Patients who undergo radiation for treatment of brain tumors may survive their cancer only to have lasting memory and learning deficiencies, the impact of which can be particularly devastating for children. Now, researchers at the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center have discovered that lithium, a drug commonly used to treat bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses, can protect the brain cells involved in learning and memory from radiation damage.

While the work has been conducted in cell culture and animal studies thus far, clinical trials are expected to be conducted soon to test whether the drug can protect humans from cognitive deficits as a result of cranial radiation therapy.


The researchers presented their work during the 46th annual meeting of the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, earlier this week in Atlanta. "In addition to killing cancer cells, radiation can cause cell death – apoptosis – in normal cells as well," said Dennis Hallahan, M.D., professor and chair of Radiation Oncology at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tenn. "Particularly susceptible are neurons in the hippocampus, the part of the brain that plays a crucial role in learning and memory."

Lithium is an inhibitor of a protein that causes apoptosis called glycogen synthase kinase 3 b. Studies suggest that it may protect neurons from a variety of cytotoxic insults, including observations that the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease – which leads to progressive and profound memory loss – is lower among patients who take lithium for mental illness, Hallahan said.

The researchers observed in animal models that a single radiation dose of 5 Gy caused a massive amount of apoptosis in the hippocampus but not in other areas of the brain.

However, treatment of a mouse hippocampus cell with lithium for a week prior to 3 Gy of radiation resulted in a 60 percent increase in cell survival; a week’s treatment with lithium prior to a radiation dose of 6 Gy resulted in a 70 percent increase in cell survival.

The researchers also observed animals in a maze to determine long-term effects on memory and learning, and found that the animals pre-treated with lithium performed better than those who did not receive lithium prior to radiation.

The team further noted that lithium did not appear to protect other types of brain cells studied, suggesting that its effects may be selective for neurons.

"Lithium may therefore provide a means of attenuating long-term cognitive deficits in patients treated with cranial irradiation," the researchers said.

Cynthia Floyd Manley | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.vanderbilt.edu
http://www.astro.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Hunting pathogens at full force
22.03.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

nachricht A 155 carat diamond with 92 mm diameter
22.03.2017 | Universität Augsburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Pulverizing electronic waste is green, clean -- and cold

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers hazard a ride in a 'drifting carousel' to understand pulsating stars

22.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New gel-like coating beefs up the performance of lithium-sulfur batteries

22.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>