Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Environmental enrichment lessens protein deficits in mouse model of Huntington’s disease

09.03.2004


Staying physically or mentally active can slow down chemical changes in the brain that lead to the neurodegeneration of Huntington’s disease, researchers show in a mouse model of the disorder.



Levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) stop declining when Huntington’s disease transgenic mice are housed in an enriched environment, the scientists say. BDNF promotes neuron growth and survival and can also regulate communication between neurons.

“The finding that environmental enrichment increases BDNF, and that this slows disease progression, provides a potential mechanism for the effects of environmental enrichment on Huntington’s disease,” says M. Flint Beal, chair of neurology at Cornell University Medical College in New York.


The new study appears in the March 3 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience and was supported by the U.K. Medical Research Council.

Huntington’s disease is a genetic brain disorder that usually strikes in midlife. As the disease progresses, patients experience involuntary dancelike movements called chorea, as well as cognitive decline. Currently, there are no effective treatments, and patients with the disease usually die 10 to 20 years after onset. The disorder affects approximately 30,000 Americans.

In the study, enriched mice had play objects placed in their cages that changed every two days, such as small, open, wooden boxes and cylindrical cardboard tunnels. To measure motor symptoms, the researchers placed five-month-old enriched and nonenriched mice on the central cylinder of a rotarod apparatus. The cylinder rotated, slowly at first, then accelerating. The amount of time a mouse remained on the rotating rod was a measure of Huntington’s disease-associated motor symptoms.

In transgenic mice housed without enrichment, BDNF protein levels declined, but in mice housed in enriched conditions, the levels remained normal. Enriched mice also showed fewer Huntington’s disease-like motor symptoms.

“The study offers hope for the clinical treatment of Huntington’s disease,” says primary author Tara Spires of the Physiology Department at the University of Oxford, Oxford, U.K. “Enhanced physical and mental activity have been associated with reduced risks of dementia due to Alzheimer’s disease. These new data demonstrate a mechanism by which such environmental factors may slow down chemical changes in the brain that cause Huntington’s disease as well.”

Spires’ coauthors include Helen E. Grote, Neelash K. Varshney, Patricia M. Cordery, Anton van Dellen, Colin Blakemore, and Anthony J. Hannan. The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of more than 34,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system. Spires can be reached via e-mail at: tspires@partners.org.

Dawn McCoy | Society for Neuroscience
Further information:
http://www.sfn.org/content/AboutSFN1/NewsReleases/pr_030404.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests
14.12.2017 | Aalto University

nachricht ASU scientists develop new, rapid pipeline for antimicrobials
14.12.2017 | Arizona State University

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: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

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

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Plasmonic biosensors enable development of new easy-to-use health tests

14.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

New type of smart windows use liquid to switch from clear to reflective

14.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility

14.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>