Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gas on your mind

12.12.2006
Scientists at the University of Leicester are to gain a greater insight into the workings of the human mind…through the study of a snail’s brain.

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
Further information:
http://www.le.ac.uk

Further reports about: Oxide connections nerve cells nervous system nitric

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The birth of a new protein
20.10.2017 | University of Arizona

nachricht Building New Moss Factories
20.10.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>