Studies on mice reveal that a special protein in the brain’s tiniest blood vessels may affect the risk of stroke. Peter Carlsson, professor in genetics at the University of Gothenburg, and his research team are publishing new research findings in the journal Developmental Cell about how the blood-brain barrier develops and what makes the capillaries in the brain different from small blood vessels in other organs.
The brain’s smallest blood vessels differ from those in other organs in that the capillary walls are much more compact. The nerve cells in the brain get the nutrients they need by molecules actively being transported from the blood, instead of passively leaking out from the blood vessels.
Capillaries from a mouse brain (the green cells are endothelial cells and the red ones are pericytes).
University of Gothenburg
This blood-brain barrier is vital, because it enables strict control over the substances with which the brain’s nerve cells come into contact. It has a protective function that if it fails, increases the risk of stroke and other complications.
Special cell type essential to development
The smallest blood vessels, the capillaries, have a type of cell called pericytes. These are essential to the development of the blood-brain barrier. Pericytes are also found in other organs, and researchers have previously been unable to find out what gives the brain’s pericytes this unique ability.
The Gothenburg research team has found that the brain’s pericytes contain a protein, FoxF2, which is not present in the pericytes of other organs, and which coordinates the changes that make the blood vessels compact. FoxF2 is needed in order for the blood-brain barrier to form during foetal development.
“Mice that have too little or too much FoxF2 develop various types of defects in the brain’s blood vessels,” explains Peter Carlsson, professor at the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Chemistry and Molecular Biology.
One gene may play a critical role
In humans, researchers have noted that major changes in a region of chromosome 6 have been associated with an increased risk of stroke, but it has not been known which of the genes in the area are responsible for this risk.
“The FoxF2 gene is an extremely interesting candidate, as it is located right in the middle of this region, and research is under way now in collaboration with clinical geneticists to investigate the extent to which variations in the FoxF2 gene affect people’s risk of suffering a stroke,” says Peter Carlsson.
Link to article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2015.05.008
For further information, please contact: Tel: +46 (0)31-786 3804; Mobile: +46 (0)708-236776; E-mail: email@example.com
Henrik Axlid | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
New RNA sequencing strategy provides insight into microbiomes
17.12.2018 | University of Chicago Medical Center
Mass spectrometry sheds new light on thallium poisoning cold case
14.12.2018 | University of Maryland
Researchers from the University of Basel have reported a new method that allows the physical state of just a few atoms or molecules within a network to be controlled. It is based on the spontaneous self-organization of molecules into extensive networks with pores about one nanometer in size. In the journal ‘small’, the physicists reported on their investigations, which could be of particular importance for the development of new storage devices.
Around the world, researchers are attempting to shrink data storage devices to achieve as large a storage capacity in as small a space as possible. In almost...
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
17.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
17.12.2018 | Architecture and Construction
17.12.2018 | Life Sciences