Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

OHSU researchers produce first animal model for stress-induced movement disorder

02.04.2003


Research helps physicians understand rare form of ataxia that causes patients to appear ’drunk’ at times


Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University are the first to produce an animal model for episodic ataxia. The condition causes patients to suffer bouts of extreme clumsiness where they have balance, speech and motor difficulties. The research helps scientists better understand this rare and intriguing disorder. It may also help provide valuable information for improved, targeted drugs for treatment. The research is printed in the April edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience. It was conducted in conjunction with researchers at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"By developing a mouse model for episodic ataxia, we now have a valuable tool to better understand and treat the disease," said James Maylie, Ph.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine. "We have already used this animal model to observe and learn more about cellular mechanisms behind the disease. These disease-linked cells are located in the cerebellum, a portion of the brain involved in motor coordination."

The research also helps explain how a medication commonly used to treat patients works. "Acetazolamide is often given to patients with episodic ataxia," Maylie said. "Using these mice models, we were able to establish how acetazolamide acts at a cellular level to combat the disorder, something that was previously unknown."



Approximately 150,000 Americans are affected by the various forms of ataxia. The disorder is characterized by poor motor coordination. Specifically, it can cause hand coordination problems, poor balance and slurred speech. People with ataxia are often accused of acting drunk. In most ataxia disorders, the coordination problems are present all the time. In episodic ataxia, the coordination problems come on suddenly, often in stressful situations, and last for minutes or hours.

"Episodic ataxia is one form of the condition involving intermittent spells where sufferers simply can’t control their limbs," said John Nutt, M.D., director of the Parkinson Center of Oregon, which also treats patients with ataxia. "These attacks can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to three or four hours, and they are often triggered by stress, exercise or vigorous activity. In between episodes, patients are completely normal. Episodic ataxia is frequently caused by genetic mutations, but in some cases, multiple sclerosis can be the cause."

Years ago Nutt and his colleagues helped define clinical features of what they thought were three different types of inherited episodic ataxia while working with families seen in the OHSU neurogenetics clinic. In 1994 OHSU researchers Michael Litt, Ph.D., professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine, and research associate David Browne, Ph.D., determined that the disease was caused in some families by a mutation in a gene that controls the flow of potassium in and out of nerve cells. This was the first human disease linked to the malfunction of a potassium gene. Testing all the families with this disorder in the neurogenetics clinic proved that two genes, and not three genes as the clinicians had thought, were responsible for the episodic ataxias. Subsequently other investigators found that a second variant of episodic ataxia was caused by a mutation in a gene that controlled the flow of calcium through the cell membrane.


This research was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and the National Ataxia Foundation.

Jim Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

nachricht Study advances gene therapy for glaucoma
17.01.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Morbid Obesity: Gastric Bypass and Sleeve Gastrectomy Are Comparable

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Genetic discovery may help better identify children at risk for type 1 diabetes

17.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>