Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Olfactory receptor cells may provide clues to psychiatric disease

02.03.2005


Nose cells provide a window into the brain

In the first study to examine living nerve cells from patients with psychiatric disease, scientists from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, the University of Pennsylvania, and collaborating institutions report altered nerve cell function in olfactory receptor neurons from patients with bipolar disorder. Like other psychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders, bipolar disorder affects nerve cells in the brain, making it difficult to study underlying neurobiological causes of the disease during its actual course. According to senior author Nancy Rawson, PhD, a Monell cellular biologist, "Previous studies have used non-nerve cells, such as fibroblasts or red blood cells, to examine how cells function in patients with bipolar disorder. But since this is a psychiatric disorder, we need to understand what’s going on in nerve cells."

Olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs), located in a small patch of epithelium inside the nose, are nerve cells that contain receptors for the thousands of odorant molecules detected by humans. Easily obtained using a simple 5-minute biopsy procedure, ORNs share many characteristics with nerve cells in the brain. These features make ORNs a useful model to study the neural effects of psychiatric disease. Calcium is integral to properly-functioning nerves, and previous studies have implicated dysfunctions of cellular calcium metabolism as a contributing factor to bipolar disorder. Changes in how much calcium is inside ORNs and other nerve cells tell researchers how the nerves respond to stimulation.



In the study, researchers used a fluorescence imaging technique to measure basal and stimulated calcium levels in ORNs from 17 patients with bipolar disorder and age- and sex-matched healthy controls. Seven patients were medication free and 10 were being treated with mood-stabilizing drugs. Calcium responses were predominantly decreased in nerves from patients with bipolar disease. Rawson comments, "The deceased calcium responses point to a specific set of pathways that will allow us to narrow the target for identifying the defect of calcium regulation associated with bipolar disorder. Once identified, these pathways will provide new targets for drug development."

The researchers regard the ORNs as a valuable model which will provide needed insight into the neurobiological factors underlying psychiatric disease. Rawson notes, "The calcium dysregulation that we see in ORNs of bipolar patients is different from what has previously been reported in studies using non-neuronal cells. This suggests that nerve cells might behave differently from other cell types."

Lead author Chang-Gyu Hahn, MD, PhD, a psychiatrist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, observes, "A major issue in treating bipolar disorder – or psychiatric disorders in general – is that it is hard to predict which medication a patient will respond to. So, clinicians go through a series of trials and errors and the patient suffers until the right medication is found. It is possible that ORNs might be developed as a ’medication responsiveness test’ to indicate which medication a patient should be on."

Hahn continues, "Another strength of this approach is that we can sample neurons from patients during specific stages of the illness and therefore we will be able to distinguish trait from state dependent characteristics of the disorder, which is particularly important in understanding mood disorders. "

Co-lead author was Monell neurobiologist George Gomez, PhD, currently at the University of Scranton. Also contributing to the studies were Diego Restrepo, PhD, University of Colorado; Eitan Friedman, PhD, MCP Hahnemann University; Richard Josiassen, PhD, Arthur P. Noyes Research Foundation and University of Pennsylvania; Edmund A. Pribitkin, MD and Louis Lowry MD, Thomas Jefferson University; and Robert J. Gallop, West Chester University.

Leslie Stein | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.monell.org

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 >>>