New insights into regulatory mechanisms help in understanding diseases of the central nervous system
Heidelberg Neuroscientists have identified a critical regulator for blood vessel growth in the developing embryonic spinal cord. The research group under the direction of Dr Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar of the Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center discovered that special nerve cells known as motor neurons control this process.
This new insight into the nature of the interrelationship between the nervous system and the vascular system will help in understanding diseases of the central nervous system. These findings were published in the journal "Nature Communications".
The nerve cells of the central nervous system (CNS), which is composed of the spinal cord, the brain, and the retina, must be supplied with sufficient oxygen and nutrients through the blood vessel system during development and their subsequent function. “Moreover, there is an active bidirectional communication between the nerve cells and the blood vessels to ensure the proper development and maintenance of an organ as complex as the brain," reports Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar.
Research of the last decade revealed that the CNS and the vascular system share many molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways, which is also known as neurovascular link. However, still most of these molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood.
In their study, the Heidelberg researchers discovered that accurate vascularisation of the spinal cord during embryonic development is a highly precise mechanism, which requires a complexly regulated balance between growth-stimulating and growth-inhibiting factors. They demonstrated that spinal cord motor neurons produce the signaling molecule VEGF-A to stimulate the formation of blood vessels, and at the same time produce the VEGF-A trapping molecule sFlt1, which ensures accurate blood vessel patterning.
"Interestingly, even the slightest manipulation of this balance changes the pattern of blood vessel growth, causing the blood vessels to grow into the motor neuron region prematurely," explains the first author of the study, Patricia Himmels, a doctoral candidate in the research group led by Dr Ruiz de Almodóvar.
The results of this study also suggest that premature vascularisation has a devastating impact on correct motoneuron positioning. These findings are particularly important for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases, which also involve the vascular system. The Heidelberg researchers hope their results will help in the understanding of those disorders, and even perhaps lead to the development of new treatment strategies for these diseases.
Dr Carmen Ruiz de Almodóvar
Heidelberg University Biochemistry Center
Phone +49 6221 54-4750
Communications and Marketing
Phone +49 6221 54-2311
Marietta Fuhrmann-Koch | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Fish recognize their prey by electric colors
13.11.2018 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
The dawn of a new era for genebanks - molecular characterisation of an entire genebank collection
13.11.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly
The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Life Sciences
13.11.2018 | Awards Funding