The research may lead to a greater understanding of the development of the nervous system and the processes that control nerve cell regeneration following injury. Researchers received funding of £322,299 from the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) for the study.
The research project, led by Dr Volko Straub, a Research Councils UK fellow in the University’s Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, may also provide new insights why nitric oxide plays such an important role in many forms of learning.
Dr Straub commented: “The gas nitric oxide has two faces. It can be highly toxic and kill. However, it is also found naturally in the brain where it is used by nerve cells to communicate with each other. So, whilst it can be poisonous, the body also uses it beneficially as an internal signal.”
“During brain development, nitric oxide can promote the growth of nerve cells and the formation of connections between nerve cells. Learning also triggers the formation of new connections between nerve cells and in many cases requires nitric oxide.”
Despite the recognition of the importance of nitric oxide for the formation of nerve cell connections, scientists know little about the mechanisms. The Leicester BBSRC-funded project will study directly the relationship between the effects of nitric oxide on the growth of nerve cells and the formation of nerve cell connections.
Dr Straub explained: “Studying these processes in higher animals is complicated by the complexity of their nervous system. Fortunately, evolution has been very conservative. So, we decided to use the nervous system of the common pond snail, which is considerably less complex than the nervous system of higher animals such as mice, as a model system.
“In the snail, individual nerve cells are relatively large and easily identifiable. They are accessible for experimental manipulations. Snail neurons can also be isolated from the nervous system and maintained in cell culture, where they grow and form functional connections. Importantly, the basic processes and factors that control the growth of nerve cells and the formation of functional connections are highly conserved in all animals.”
The results of the project will show what effects nitric oxide has on nerve cell growth and on the formation of functional connections. In a broader context, the results will contribute to a better understanding of the factors that control nerve cell growth and the formation of functional connections.
Alex Jelley | alfa
New type of photosynthesis discovered
17.06.2018 | Imperial College London
New ID pictures of conducting polymers discover a surprise ABBA fan
17.06.2018 | University of Warwick
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
15.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
15.06.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
15.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering