Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists push forward understanding of multiple sclerosis

08.12.2005


New findings by a research team from the University of Edinburgh may help explain why diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS) which attack the myelin sheath – an insulator which protects the body’s nervous system - cause such severe symptoms in MS patients. Their discoveries may lead to new ways to help treat patients with MS, it is reported in the journal Neuron today (Thursday, 8 December).



The scientists have made an important breakthrough in understanding how animals with complex nervous systems, such as humans, achieve rapid signalling between their nerve cells. Communication between nerve cells and other organs such as muscles needs to be extremely fast, so that the body responds quickly to instructions from the brain. Electrical signals can travel rapidly from the brain because they ’jump’ down nerves using specialised hotspots called nodes.

Professor Peter Brophy of the Centre for Neuroscience Research at the Unversity and leader of the study explained: "It has been known for some time that the location of the nodes along nerves is determined by specialised cells called glia, which surround nerves with a myelin sheath. The nerves of babies are surrounded by these glial cells in the first few years after birth, which ensures proper development of the human nervous system. If nerves do not get their myelin sheath, or if they lose it later because of diseases like MS, the nodes either don’t form, or are disrupted, leading to a serious loss of nervous system function, which in turn can lead to blindness, paralysis or even death."


Professor Brophy’s team has discovered the key molecules- two proteins found in the gene Neurofascin- that link glial ensheathment of the nerve fibres to the formation of nodes. "We hope that the discovery of these proteins will help us to find ways to improve nerve conduction in patients with conditions where the myelin sheath is attacked," he said.

Linda Menzies | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ed.ac.uk

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht MRI contrast agent locates and distinguishes aggressive from slow-growing breast cancer
25.09.2017 | Case Western Reserve University

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

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: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Highest-energy cosmic rays have extragalactic origin

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Two Group A Streptococcus genes linked to 'flesh-eating' bacterial infections

25.09.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA'S OSIRIS-REx spacecraft slingshots past Earth

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>