Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Undergrad’s Work Details Protein’s Role in Neurological Disorders

15.02.2012
Student and Prof Study Suspected Link to Hyper-Excitability Factors in Epilepsy, Autism and More

A UT Dallas undergraduate’s research is revealing new information about a key protein’s role in the development of epilepsy, autism and other neurological disorders. This work could one day lead to new treatments for the conditions.

Senior neuroscience student Francisco Garcia has worked closely with Dr. Marco Atzori, associate professor in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS), on several papers that outline their findings about interleukin 6 (IL-6) and hyper-excitability. An article on the project is slated for publication in Biological Psychiatry later this year.

Scientists know that stress elevates the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (signaling molecules used in intercellular communication) and promotes hyper-excitable conditions within the central nervous system. This hyper-excitability is thought to be a factor in epilepsy, autism and anxiety disorders.

“This finding has the potential to lead to eventual new treatments for epilepsy, anxiety disorders or autism.”

Franciso Garcia,
senior neuroscience student
Garcia and Atzori hypothesized that the protein IL-6 acutely and directly induces hyper-excitability by altering the balance between excitation and inhibition within synaptic communication. In other words, IL-6 is not just present when hyper-excitability occurs in the nervous system. It may actually cause it in some circumstances, Garcia said.

The UT Dallas research team administered IL-6 to rat brain tissue and monitored its synaptic excitability. The brain tissue exhibited higher than normal excitability in their synapses, a symptom that may lead to misfiring of signals in epilepsy and other conditions.

The researchers then injected sgp130 -a novel drug that acts as an IL-6 blocker- into the laboratory animals’ brains. The substance limited excitability and appeared to prevent the conditions that lead to related neurological and psychiatric disorders, Garcia said.

“This finding has the potential to lead to eventual new treatments for epilepsy, anxiety disorders or autism,” Garcia said.

The next stage of his research will involve looking at how IL-6 might affect development of other types of neurological problems. Human trials could follow sometime in the future.

Garcia is a native of Mexico, and he plans to pursue his master’s degree in neuroscience at UT Dallas after finishing his undergraduate studies. He credits the BBS faculty with allowing him to participate in laboratory experiments and expand his research skills.

“The UT Dallas faculty members have been great about giving me the opportunity to learn the techniques of a lab researcher,” he said. “It’s been a great experience to work as an undergraduate with such highly respected scientists as Dr. Atzori and Dr. Michael Kilgard.”

Atzori also praised Garcia’s efforts.

“Francisco has been an intelligent, hard-working and experimentally gifted student who contributed way more than the average undergraduate to the projects of the laboratory,” Atzori said. “I am proud that a fine piece of research with great potential for research and clinical applications has been carried out thanks to his enthusiasm and dedication. Francisco’s work in my laboratory is an example of the achievements possible when an institution like UT Dallas invests in and nurtures its research environment.”

Media Contact:
Emily Martinez, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4335, emily.martinez@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

Emily Martinez | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utdallas.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Antarctic Ice Sheet mass loss has increased
14.06.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf

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: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>