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 Norovirus evades immune system by hiding out in rare gut cells
12.10.2017 | University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

nachricht Flexible sensors can detect movement in GI tract
11.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>