Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Important New Research Identifies How Brain Cells Die During A Stroke

28.01.2005


Medical Research Council (MRC) scientists, in collaboration with colleagues from British and Italian universities, have unveiled a mechanism that causes the death of brain cells (neurons) in stroke. The discovery may help explain why some therapy approaches for stroke have been unsuccessful and identifies potential research avenues for the development of new treatments for stroke and other degenerative brain diseases.



Stroke is a consequence of an abrupt interruption of blood flow to the brain. When the blood supply stops, the nerve cells that are directly deprived of oxygen quickly die and release the chemicals that they use to communicate with each other. One of these neurotransmitters – glutamate – spreads to surrounding cells and sets off a process called excitotoxicity, causing much more widespread cell death. Glutamate triggers a flood of calcium ions into the cells and, for reasons not previously understood, the level of calcium continues to rise and this kills the neurons.

The new research, carried out at the MRC’s Toxicology Unit in Leicester, studied the mechanism of calcium overload in neurons after reduction in blood supply to areas of the rat brain. The initial flood of calcium activates enzymes called calpains, which break down the proteins in the cell membrane that normally pump calcium out of the cell.


For many years research has concentrated on trying to block the inflow of calcium, in the hope of preventing brain damage in stroke. But the new findings suggest that the main defect is in the removal of calcium from neurons. This opens up new opportunities for the development of drugs to reduce nerve cell death, not only in stroke but also in degenerative brain disorders.

Each year over 130,000 people suffer from a stroke in England and Wales and acute stroke remains a major cause of death or severe chronic disability.

Research group leader and Unit Director, Professor Pierluigi Nicotera said:
“Work at the MRC Toxicology Unit has unveiled the process that destroys the primary line of defence against calcium accumulation in the brain, which explains the build-up of lethal calcium levels in neurons.

“This is an exciting discovery because these findings go some way to explaining why therapy aimed solely at decreasing calcium entry in brain cells has been unsuccessful. This research identifies potential novel targets for treatment of stroke and other neurodegenerative diseases. The findings may lead to new drugs which will treat these conditions successfully.”

Professor Colin Blakemore, Chief Executive of the Medical Research Council, said:
“This research is an important step forward for the development of new and more effective treatments for stroke – one of the most common conditions affecting the elderly in the UK. And, as the UK’s elderly population continues to grow, so does the importance of targeting the diseases that are common in later life.

“Through the creation of the new UK Clinical Research Collaboration, the MRC will work in partnership with the NHS, medical charities and industry to speed up the development of new treatments so that more patients can benefit more quickly form the latest scientific advances.”

Press Office | alfa
Further information:
http://www.mrc.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>