A University of Central Florida researcher has discovered that altering a receptor that mediates communication between nerve cells in the brain significantly improves animals’ chances of surviving strokes and allows them to remain healthier afterwards.
YouMing Lu, a professor at the UCF Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences, is hopeful that changing the genetic blueprint of AMPA receptors can help to block lethal flows of calcium into neurons of human stroke victims.
If administered within a few hours of cardiac arrest, such therapies could prevent brain damage. Given later, the therapies could speed up the regeneration of neurons to replace ones killed by the stroke. In both cases, the primary goal is to help patients avoid brain injuries after strokes.
AMPA receptors that are located at the surface of nerve cells are normally responsible for learning and memory formation. During strokes, however, the receptors become toxic to nerve cells.
"We’re trying to find out what the major toxic aspects of these receptors are so we can rescue neurons without damaging learning and memory formation," Lu said.
Lu’s research was published in the March 2 issue of Neuron, a prestigious biomedical research journal. Lu and his research team at UCF and the University of Calgary are trying to determine the molecular functions that lead to receptors opening up and enabling large, lethal flows of calcium to reach neurons after strokes.
The calcium flows occur in the hippocampus of the brain, an area that is critical for learning and memory processes. The dilemma for researchers is to figure out how to protect neurons from the lethal doses of calcium without causing more damage to learning and memory.
Lu’s approach of modifying one part of the genetic blueprint of the AMPA receptor protected the brain in tests with mice and rats, which experience the same pattern of brain damage after cardiac arrest as humans do, Lu said. More tests in animals would be done before clinical trials are conducted.
Lu conducted his research with funds from the American Heart Association, plus other grants from the UCF presidential equipment fund, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Health Research. Lu’s research has potential future applications for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological illnesses. Drug therapies for those diseases also could improve learning and memory by inducing the regeneration of neurons.
Lu began his research about six years ago at the University of Calgary. He moved to the University of Central Florida 1 1/2 years ago, when the university began hiring more faculty members in the Burnett College of Biomedical Sciences to develop a foundation for a new medical college at UCF.
Chad Binette | EurekAlert!
Molecular microscopy illuminates molecular motor motion
26.07.2017 | Penn State
New virus discovered in migratory bird in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
26.07.2017 | Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo
Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers
Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...
Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.
At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
26.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
26.07.2017 | Materials Sciences
26.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy