Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have been able to manipulate the production of motor neurones – which control all muscle activity – in zebrafish.
Zebrafish are important in helping scientists understand how motor neurones are produced, because unlike mammals, they are able to create new motor neurones as adults.
Humans can generate motor neurones during embryonic development but lose the ability to generate these cells, which are important for speaking, walking and breathing, after birth.
This means that the body is unable to replace these cells if they become damaged as a result of motor neurone disease, stroke or spinal cord injury.
The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, found that motor neurone production could be increased in adult zebrafish with a drug that inhibits the so-called notch-signalling pathway.
Dr Catherina Becker, from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Neuroregeneration, said: "If we can find out more about the cell mechanisms involved in zebrafish to make motor neurones, we could potentially manipulate these pathways in humans with the hope of being able to generate new motor neurones."
The research focussed on early stage cells – known as progenitor cells – in zebrafish, which have the ability to generate motor neurones.
Scientists found that when a protein – called Notch 1¬ – was expressed, signals were sent that stopped the progenitor cells from making motor neurones.
Stopping the Notch1 protein from sending these signals meant that researchers were able to increase the production of progenitor cells and motor neurones in the zebrafish.
Humans have progenitor cells, very similar to those found in zebrafish, which are located in the central nervous system. However, after embryonic development, these cells lose the ability to become motor neurones in humans.
The study could help research to find ways to turn progenitor cells into motor neurons following damage caused by motor neuron disease, spinal cord injury or stroke.
The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, the Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Research at the University of Edinburgh, the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at John Hopkins University and Tenovus Scotland.
Tara Womersley | EurekAlert!
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences