Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Manipulation of a specific neural circuit buried in complicated brain networks in primates

18.06.2012
Newly clarified function of 'indirect pathways' from brain to spinal motor neurons, controlling dexterous hand movements by newly developed 'the double viral vector transfection technique'

The collaborative research team led by Professor Tadashi ISA, Project Assistant Professor Masaharu KINOSHITA from The National Institute for Physiological Sciences, The National Institutes of Natural Sciences and Fukushima Medical University and Kyoto University, developed "the double viral vector transfection technique" which can deliver genes to a specific neural circuit by combining two new kinds of gene transfer vectors.

With this method, they found that "indirect pathways", which were suspected to have been left behind when the direct connection from the brain to motor neurons (which control muscles) was established in the course of evolution, actually plays an important role in the highly developed dexterous hand movements. This study was supported by the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences by the MEXT of Japan. This research result will be published in Nature (London) (June 17th, advance online publication).

It is said that the higher primates including human beings accomplished explosive evolution by having acquired the ability to move hands skillfully. It has been thought that this ability to move individual fingers is a result of the evolution of the direct connection from the cerebrocortical motor area to motor neurons of the spinal cord which control the muscles. On the other hand, in lower animals with clumsy hands, such as cats or rats, the cortical motor area is connected to the motor neurons, only through interneurons of the spinal cord. Such "indirect pathway"remains in us, primates, without us fully understanding its functions. Is this "phylogenetically old circuit" still in operation? Or maybe suppressed since it is obstructive? The conclusion was not attached to this argument.

The collaborative research team led by Professor Tadashi ISA, Project Assistant Professor Masaharu KINOSHITA from The National Institute for Physiological Sciences, The National Institutes of Natural Sciences and Fukushima Medical University and Kyoto University developed "the double viral vector transfection technique"which can deliver genes to a specific neural circuit by combining two new kinds of gene transfer vectors.

With this method, they succeeded in the selective and reversible suppression of the propriospinal neurons (spinal interneurons mediating the indirect connection from cortical motor area to spinal motor neurons)

The results revealed that "indirect pathways" play an important role in dexterous hand movements and finally a longtime debate has come to a close.

The key component of this discovery was"the double viral vector transfection technique"in which one vector is retrogradely transported from the terminal zone back to the neuronal cell bodies and the other is transfected at the location of their cell bodies. The expression of the target gene is regulated only in the cells with double transfection by the two vectors. Using this technique, they succeeded in the suppression of the propriospinal neuron selectively and reversibly.

Such an operation was possible in mice in which the inheritable genetic manipulation of germline cells were possible, but impossible in primates until now.

Using this method, further development of gene therapy targeted to a specific neural circuit can be expected.

Professor Tadashi ISA says "this newly developed double viral vector transfection technique can be applied to the gene therapy of the human central nervous system, as we are the same higher primates.

And this is the discovery which reverses the general idea that the spinal cord is only a reflex pathway, but also plays a pivotal role in integrating the complex neural signals which enable dexterous movements."

This study was supported by the Strategic Research Program for Brain Sciences by the MEXT of Japan, collaborated with Fukushima Medical University and Kyoto University.

Tadashi Isa | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nips.ac.jp

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Tracing the evolution of vision
23.08.2019 | University of Göttingen

nachricht Caffeine does not influence stingless bees
23.08.2019 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Hamburg and Kiel researchers observe spontaneous occurrence of skyrmions in atomically thin cobalt films

Since their experimental discovery, magnetic skyrmions - tiny magnetic knots - have moved into the focus of research. Scientists from Hamburg and Kiel have now been able to show that individual magnetic skyrmions with a diameter of only a few nanometres can be stabilised in magnetic metal films even without an external magnetic field. They report on their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.

The existence of magnetic skyrmions as particle-like objects was predicted 30 years ago by theoretical physicists, but could only be proven experimentally in...

Im Focus: Physicists create world's smallest engine

Theoretical physicists at Trinity College Dublin are among an international collaboration that has built the world's smallest engine - which, as a single calcium ion, is approximately ten billion times smaller than a car engine.

Work performed by Professor John Goold's QuSys group in Trinity's School of Physics describes the science behind this tiny motor.

Im Focus: Quantum computers to become portable

Together with the University of Innsbruck, the ETH Zurich and Interactive Fully Electrical Vehicles SRL, Infineon Austria is researching specific questions on the commercial use of quantum computers. With new innovations in design and manufacturing, the partners from universities and industry want to develop affordable components for quantum computers.

Ion traps have proven to be a very successful technology for the control and manipulation of quantum particles. Today, they form the heart of the first...

Im Focus: Towards an 'orrery' for quantum gauge theory

Experimental progress towards engineering quantized gauge fields coupled to ultracold matter promises a versatile platform to tackle problems ranging from condensed-matter to high-energy physics

The interaction between fields and matter is a recurring theme throughout physics. Classical cases such as the trajectories of one celestial body moving in the...

Im Focus: A miniature stretchable pump for the next generation of soft robots

Soft robots have a distinct advantage over their rigid forebears: they can adapt to complex environments, handle fragile objects and interact safely with humans. Made from silicone, rubber or other stretchable polymers, they are ideal for use in rehabilitation exoskeletons and robotic clothing. Soft bio-inspired robots could one day be deployed to explore remote or dangerous environments.

Most soft robots are actuated by rigid, noisy pumps that push fluids into the machines' moving parts. Because they are connected to these bulky pumps by tubes,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

The power of thought – the key to success: CYBATHLON BCI Series 2019

16.08.2019 | Event News

4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020 28 - 29 April 2020, Karlsruhe, Germany

14.08.2019 | Event News

What will the digital city of the future look like? City Science Summit on 1st and 2nd October 2019 in Hamburg

12.08.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making small intestine endoscopy faster with a pill-sized high-tech camera

23.08.2019 | Medical Engineering

More reliable operation offshore wind farms

23.08.2019 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tracing the evolution of vision

23.08.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>