Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers find chemical 'switches' for neurodegenerative diseases

27.11.2012
Huntington's is the disease most directly related to the chemical chain involved

By using a model, researchers at the University of Montreal have identified and "switched off" a chemical chain that causes neurodegenerative diseases such as Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and dementia.

The findings could one day be of particular therapeutic benefit to Huntington's disease patients. "We've identified a new way to protect neurons that express mutant huntingtin proteins," explained Dr. Alex Parker of the University of Montreal's Department of Pathology and Cell Biology and its affiliated CRCHUM Research Centre. A cardinal feature of Huntington's disease – a fatal genetic disease that typically affects patients in midlife and causes progressive death of specific areas of the brain – is the aggregation of mutant huntingtin protein in cells.

"Our model revealed that increasing another cell chemical called progranulin reduced the death of neurons by combating the accumulation of the mutant proteins. Furthermore, this approach may protect against neurodegenerative diseases other than Huntington's disease."

There is no cure for Huntingdon's disease and current strategies show only modest benefits, and a component of the protein aggregates involved are also present in other degenerative diseases. "My team and I wondered if the proteins in question, TDP-43 and FUS, were just innocent bystanders or if they affected the toxicity caused by mutant huntingtin," Dr. Parker said.

To answer this question, Dr. Parker and University of Montreal doctoral student Arnaud Tauffenberger turned to a simple genetic model based on the expression of mutant huntingtin in the nervous system of the transparent roundworm C. elegans. A large number of human disease genes are conserved in worms, and C. elegans in particular enables researchers to rapidly conduct genetic analyses that would not be possible in mammals.

Dr. Parker's team found that deleting the TDP-43 and FUS genes, which produce the proteins of the same name, reduced neurodegeneration caused by mutant huntingtin. They then confirmed their findings in the cell of a mammal cell, again by using models. The next step was then to determining how neuroprotection works. TDP-43 targets a chemical called progranulin, a protein linked to dementia. "We demonstrated that removing progranulin from either worms or cells enhanced huntingtin toxicity, but increasing progranulin reduced cell death in mammalian neurons. This points towards progranulin as a potent neuroprotective agent against mutant huntingtin neurodegeneration," Dr. Parker said. The researchers will need to do further testing this in more complex biological models to determine if the same chemical switches work in all mammals. If they do, then progranulin treatment may slow disease onset or progression in Huntington's disease patients.

William Raillant-Clark | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.umontreal.ca

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)
23.05.2018 | Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

nachricht Research reveals how order first appears in liquid crystals
23.05.2018 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

Im Focus: Dozens of binaries from Milky Way's globular clusters could be detectable by LISA

Next-generation gravitational wave detector in space will complement LIGO on Earth

The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...

Im Focus: Entangled atoms shine in unison

A team led by Austrian experimental physicist Rainer Blatt has succeeded in characterizing the quantum entanglement of two spatially separated atoms by observing their light emission. This fundamental demonstration could lead to the development of highly sensitive optical gradiometers for the precise measurement of the gravitational field or the earth's magnetic field.

The age of quantum technology has long been heralded. Decades of research into the quantum world have led to the development of methods that make it possible...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Building a brain, cell by cell: Researchers make a mini neuron network (of two)

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

One-way roads for spin currents

23.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

A simple mechanism could have been decisive for the development of life

23.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>