Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research sheds light on how the body regulates fundamental neuro-hormone

11.02.2014
New research has revealed a previously unknown mechanism in the body which regulates a hormone that is crucial for motivation, stress responses and control of blood pressure, pain and appetite. The breakthrough could be used to design drugs to help fight health problems connected with these functions in the future.

Researchers at the University of Bristol and University College London found that lactate – essentially lactic acid – causes cells in the brain to release more noradrenaline (norepinephrine in US English), a hormone and neurotransmitter which is fundamental for brain function. Without it people can hardly wake up or focus on anything.

Production of lactate can be triggered by muscle use, which reinforces the connection between exercise and positive mental wellbeing.

Lactate was first discovered in sour milk by Swedish chemist, Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1780. It is produced naturally by the body, for example when muscles are at work. In the brain, it has always been regarded as an energy source which can be delivered to neurones as fuel to keep them working when brain activity increases.

This research, published today [11 February] in Nature Communications, identifies a secondary function for lactate as a signal between brain cells. It implies that there is an as yet unknown receptor for lactate in the brain which must be present on noradrenaline cells to make them sensitive to lactate.

Professor Sergey Kasparov, from Bristol University's School of Physiology and Pharmacology, said: "Our findings suggest that lactate has more than one incarnation - in addition to its role as an energy source, it is also a signal to neurones to release more noradrenaline."

Dr Anja Teschemacher, also from the University of Bristol, added: "The next big task is to identify the receptor which mediates this effect because this will help to design drugs to block or stimulate this response. If we can regulate the release of noradrenaline – which is absolutely fundamental for brain function - then this could have important implications for the treatment of major health problems such as stress, blood pressure, pain and depression."

Astrocytes, small non-neuronal star-shaped cells in the brain and spinal cord, are the principle source of brain lactate. The discovery that astrocytes communicate directly with neurones opens up a whole new area of pharmacology which has been little explored.

The research was funded by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), the Medical Research Council (MRC), The Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Paper:

'Lactate-mediated glia-neuronal signaling in the mammalian brain' by F. Tang, S. Lane, A. Korsak, J.F.R. Paton, A.V. Gourine, S. Kasparov & A.G. Teschemacher, in Nature Communications DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4284

Philippa Walker | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University

nachricht How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-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: Can the immune system be boosted against Staphylococcus aureus by delivery of messenger RNA?

Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.

Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds

26.05.2017 | Life Sciences

First Juno science results supported by University of Leicester's Jupiter 'forecast'

26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>