Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scripps Florida Scientists Offer New Insight into Neuron Changes Brought About by Aging

23.01.2014
How aging affects communication between neurons is not well understood, a gap that makes it more difficult to treat a range of disorders, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

A new study from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) offers insights into how aging affects the brain’s neural circuitry, in some cases significantly altering gene expression in single neurons. These discoveries could point the way toward a better understanding of how aging affects our cognitive ability and new therapeutic targets for the treatment of neurodegenerative disease.

“Although we don’t know exactly why, we do know there is a signaling imbalance as we age, and we’ve captured these changes at the single neuron level,” said Sathyanarayanan V. Puthanveettil, a TSRI assistant professor who led the work. “If we could identify the underpinnings of this mechanism, we may be able to target the specific mechanism to affect or reverse the aging process in human neurons.”

To record the electrical and physiological properties of single neurons, the scientists created a new method and applied it to the marine snail Aplysia californica, a widely used animal model. Many Aplysia gene expression signatures have counterparts in the human genome.

Using this methodology, which was published in the Journal of Visualized Experiments, the scientists were then able to focus on neuron R15, a burst firing neuron that is implicated in the regulation of water content and reproduction, showing how its response to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine and gene expression changed with age.

In a study published in the journal PLOS ONE, the team described specific changes in burst firing and action potentials—which play a central role in cell-to-cell communication—during the aging of R15, suggesting that changes in the response to acetylcholine during aging has been conserved during evolution in organisms from snails to mammals.

In another study, published in published in BMC Genomics, the team revealed unexpected information about gene expression during R15 aging.

“Aging brings bidirectional changes in the gene expression,” said Puthanveettil. “Some gene expression goes up; some goes down. This was surprising, particularly that some gene expression went up—something you don’t necessarily associate with aging.”

The study also noted that more than 1,000 DNA sequences are regulated differently in mature versus old R15 neurons. Among the specific biological pathways that are altered are networks involved in: cell signaling and skeletal muscular system development; cell death and survival; cellular function maintenance and embryonic development; and neurological diseases and developmental and hereditary disorders.

To confirm these findings, Puthanveettil and his colleagues also isolated and examined three other Aplysia neurons. Interestingly, while all the neurons showed changes in gene expression with age, these changes weren’t necessarily similar among the neurons. Also the magnitude of change was specific to individual neurons.

The scientists are now investigating how and why aging affects neurons differently.

The first author of the Journal of Visualized Experiments study, “Aplysia Ganglia Preparation for Electrophysiological and Molecular Analyses of Single Neurons,” is Komol Akhmedov of TSRI. Other authors include Beena M. Kadakkuzha, also of TSRI. For more information, see http://www.jove.com/video/51075/aplysia-ganglia-preparation-for-electrophysiological-molecular

The first authors of the PLOS ONE study, “Decreased response to acetylcholine during aging of Aplysia neuron R15,” are Komol Akhmedov and Valerio Rizzo of TSRI. Other authors include Beena M. Kadakkuzha of TSRI, Christopher J. Carter and Neil S. Magoski of Queen's University, Canada, and Tom R Capo of the University of Miami. For more information, see http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3874043/

The first author of the BMC Genomics study, “Age-Associated Bidirectional Modulation of Gene Expression in Single Identified R15 Neuron of Aplysia,” is Beena M Kadakkuzha of TSRI. Other authors include Komolitdin Akhmedov, Mohammad Fallahi and Anthony C Carvalloza of TSRI and Tom R Capo of the University of Miami. For more information, see http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2164/14/880/abstract

The studies were supported by the National Institutes of Health (grant Number 1 R21 MH096258), the Whitehall Foundation and the State of Florida.

About The Scripps Research Institute
The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including three Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation.
For information:
Office of Communications
Tel: 858-784-2666
Fax: 858-784-8136
press@scripps.edu

Eric Sauter | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.scripps.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microscopic trampoline may help create networks of quantum computers

17.07.2018 | Information Technology

In borophene, boundaries are no barrier

17.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

The role of Sodium for the Enhancement of Solar Cells

17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>