Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists map new mechanism in brain's barrier tissue

08.03.2012
Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have documented a previously unknown biological mechanism in the brain's most important line of defence: the blood-brain barrier. Scientists now know that the barrier helps maintain a delicate balance of glutamate, a vital signal compound in the brain. The research results have just been published in the scientific journal GLIA.

Glutamate is the most important activating transmitter substance in the brain. Vital in small amounts, it is toxic for the brain if the concentration becomes too high. Noise on the brain's signal lines can have fatal consequences and is involved in neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, sclerosis and schizophrenia. Until now scientists believed that the glutamate balance was maintained by an interaction between different types of cells in the brain: Scientists map new mechanism in the brain

"We now know that the blood-brain barrier also plays a vital role in the process by 'vacuuming' – so to speak – the brain fluid for extraneous glutamate, which is then pumped into the blood where it does not have a damaging effect. This is new knowledge that can have enormous impact on future drug development. We have charted a biological mechanism that other scientists eventually can try to influence chemically, for example, in the form of medicine to limit cell death after a stroke. When the brain lacks oxygen, the glutamate level in the brain fluid increases dramatically, which kick starts a toxic chain reaction that kills cells", explains associate professor Birger Brodin.

The research results have just been published in the scientific journal GLIA.

A couple of years ago, researchers at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences modelled an artificial blood-brain barrier in the laboratory using brain cells from rats and calves. Ninety-five percent of all drugs tested for treating diseases originating in the central nervous system fail because they cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier, which is why it is so important to have a tool that can be used to negotiate the difficult path across the brain's effective border crossing.

However, the model is not just a potential screening tool. It can also inform scientists about the properties of the mysterious barrier and lead to new knowledge about the healthy brain and disease:

"Others have been on the trail of the hypothesis that the blood-brain barrier helps maintain the delicate glutamate balance in the brain. However, because of the model we created in the laboratory, we have been able to test the hypothesis successfully in a biological experiment for the first time ever", explains PhD student Hans Christian Helms, who is the main driver behind the development of the blood-brain barrier created in the laboratory.

Scientists discovered the new mechanism in the blood-brain barrier as they were trying to investigate how amino acids get into the brain:

"Many significant discoveries happen by accident to some extent. We start by having a theory that we want to investigate. We test the theory in the laboratory and sometimes we get unexpected results. It is often the unexpected results that lead us onto new paths and to scientific breakthrough", concludes Birger Brodin.

Contact:

PhD student
Hans Christian Helms
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Cell: +45 31 24 26 66
Mail: hch@farma.ku.dk
Associate professor
Birger Brodin
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Cell: +45 22 48 03 55
Mail: bbr@farma.ku.dk
Communications officer
Stine Rasmussen
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences
Cell: +45 20 92 27 30
Mail: sr@farma.ku.dk

Hans Christian Helms | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ku.dk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>