Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NO solution to high salt intake

08.04.2002


Nitric oxide, normally toxic at high concentrations, is now known to be involved in a number of functions within the nervous system of many animals. New research being presented today at the Society for Experimental Biology conference reveals for the first time that nitric oxide is also present within the neurosecretory system of fish and may help them cope with changes in environmental salinity.



Within the mammalian nervous system it was thought that nerve cells communicated exclusively using `traditional` neurotransmitters - small peptide molecules which travel between nerve cells binding to their surface and causing them to become electrically excited. It is now believed that a new class of transmitter exists - nitric oxide (NO). As a gas, NO is able to penetrate the cell and act directly within it, modulating its activity and allowing a rapid reaction to environmental change. This transmitter has been implicated in a variety of nervous functions from olfaction -the sense of smell - to hormone release.

The presence and activity of nitric oxide has, in the last 10 years, been demonstrated in almost every species of animal, says Dr Carla Cioni of `La Sapienza` University, Rome. At the conference in Swansea, Dr Cioni will show that NO may play a role within the neurosecretory system of fish. Fish possess two neurosecretory systems - essentially nerve cells which are able to release hormones - in the brain and, strangely, the tail. The system in the tail is known as the urophysis and produces urotensins. These proteins are released into the blood and cause circulatory changes which may help the fish to cope with changes in salinity.


Dr Cioni, and colleague Dr Bordieri, have been able to identify the presence of a specific enzyme, neuronal NO synthase, within these cells. This enzyme plays a crucial role in producing nitric oxide. Dr Cioni suggests that the production of this gas may modulate the release of urotensins into the bloodstream thus altering their concentration within the blood and their effect on blood pressure. Support for this theory has come from collaborative work with British scientists. It seems that the electrical (nervous) activity of the fish`s neurosecretory cells can be altered artificially by adding, or removing NO. In the presence of excess NO activity increases, and in its absence it decreases, lending considerable support to Dr Cioni`s theory.

"The next stage of our research to determine whether NO is directly involved in salinity regulation, where fish adjust to varying salinity as they move through different waters. But it seems clear that the NO system is a virtually universal phenomenon within the nervous systems of animals."

Jenny Gimpel | alphagalileo

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Desert ants cannot be fooled
23.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht Bacteria as pacemaker for the intestine
22.11.2017 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Corporate coworking as a driver of innovation

22.11.2017 | Business and Finance

PPPL scientists deliver new high-resolution diagnostic to national laser facility

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Quantum optics allows us to abandon expensive lasers in spectroscopy

22.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>