Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Medicine to alleviate Huntington's?

14.06.2007
Huntington's disease is a hereditary disorder that primarily affects the brain, leading to death within just over a decade. There is no treatment for the disease at present, but researchers at Lund University in Sweden believe that a medicine used for Alzheimer's disease could alleviate some of the symptoms.

Huntington's disease is caused by a mutation of a gene that the produces the Huntington protein. This protein influences a number of processes in the cells of the brain. The disorder first appears as symptoms like personality changes and depression, followed by dementia, weight loss, and jerky movements (which is why it used to be called Huntington's chorea, chorea - from the greek word for dance).

A research team at Lund, headed by Professor Patrik Brundin, has long been studying Huntington's disease in order to elucidate its complex mechanisms. Ruben Smith, a doctoral student in the group, supervised by Associate Professor Jia-Yi Li, will soon be defending a dissertation in which he studied a certain type of nerve cells called cholinergic neurons. These nerve cells release acetylcholine, one of the body's most common and important signal substances.

"It was previously believed that these nerve cells were not affected by Huntington's, but we show that their function is probably seriously impaired by the disorder," he says.

The discovery opens the possibility of counteracting the disease by reinforcing the production of acetylcholine in the cholinergic nerve cells. Substances that have this effect already exist: they are used to treat Alzheimer's disease, in which cholinergic neurons are also damaged.

"A couple of studies have been done with this type of medication for Huntington's patients, but they have involved a small number of patients and a short time period. We think our results justify studies on a larger scale. After all, the drug is already approved for use," says Ruben Smith.

If the medication has an effect, it will probably impact memory and thinking primarily, not motor symptoms. The medicine would not halt the course of the disease: it would merely alleviate it. But considering the fact that there is no treatment whatsoever today, this would be a step forward.

The dissertation is titled Communication Breakdown - Synaptic Dysfunction in Huntington's Disease. It will be defended on June 16. A summary is available at http://theses.lub.lu.se/postgrad/. Enter Huntington's in the search box.

Ruben Smith can be reached at phone: +46 (0)46-2229827; cell phone: +46 (0)702-765214; e-mail: ruben.smith@med.lu.se

Ingela Björck | idw
Further information:
http://theses.lub.lu.se/postgrad/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Electrical 'switch' in brain's capillary network monitors activity and controls blood flow
27.03.2017 | Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>