Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New findings on nerve cell proteins show promise for reducing disability

17.03.2004


New findings in animals suggest a potential treatment to minimize disability after spinal cord and other nervous system injuries, say neuroscientists from Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center.



"Our approach is based on a natural mechanism cells have for protecting themselves, called the stress protein response," said Michael Tytell, Ph.D., a neuroscientist and the study’s lead researcher. "We believe it has potential for preventing some of the disability that occurs as a result of nervous system trauma and disease."

The research showed that up to 50 percent of the motor and sensory nerve cell death could be prevented in mice with sciatic nerve injury. It is reported in the current issue of Cell Stress and Chaperones, a journal of stress biology and medicine.


"We are on our way to developing a treatment that is effective in preventing motor nerve cell death, which is significant to people because loss of motor neurons means paralysis," said Tytell, professor of neurobiology and anatomy at Wake Forest Baptist.

The goal of the work is to prevent or minimize the "secondary" cell death that occurs in the hours and days after a spinal cord or brain injury. During this period, cells surrounding the injury can become inflamed and die, a cascading response that worsens disability.

"There is a lot of cell death that takes place after the initial injury," said Tytell. "If you could prevent that, you would retain a lot more function."

Tytell’s approach is to augment the stress protein response, in which cells produce proteins called Hsc70 and Hsp70 that help protect them from death when they are exposed to heat, injury or any other stresses that threaten their normal function.

"This is a way cells have of protecting themselves," he said. "If we can figure out a way to facilitate that response, we could potentially limit the amount of damage that is caused."

For the study, the researchers treated injured sciatic nerves in mice with Hsc70 and Hsp70. In mice treated with the proteins, cell death was reduced by up to 50 percent compared to mice that weren’t treated.

Tytell said it is a novel idea that cells can be successfully treated with a protein that is ordinarily made inside the cells.

"We don’t know whether the protein is functioning in the same way as when it’s made in the cells," he said. "We’re working to learn more about this effect. If we can understand it better, we’ll know what form it should be in and what the doses should be to maximize the protective benefits."

Tytell and colleagues hope to use their knowledge about the proteins and how they work to develop drugs that could be used to treat injury. One idea is to develop a drug that would increase the production of the protective proteins.

Tytell said that over the years, there has been little progress in research on traumatic injury to the nervous system. One approach that is being studied is to replace the damaged cells with stem cells. However, there are technical problems getting the nerve "circuitry" to grow back to normal. He believes the idea of protecting cells from secondary cell death deserves additional research attention.

"That’s a goal we could potentially reach more quickly than replacing cells that are lost," he said.

A long-range goal is to determine if the proteins could be useful in the treatment of degenerative diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Huntington’s disease. The research was supported by a grant from the Muscular Dystrophy Association, a Wake Forest University School of Medicine Venture Grant, and a private donation.

Tytell and Wake Forest hold a U.S. Patent on the use of Hsc70 and Hsp70 to prevent the death of injured cells. The results in the report will contribute to his efforts and those of his co-author, Lucien J. Houenou, a former faculty member of Wake Forest University School of Medicine, to develop therapeutic agents based on the cellular stress response.

Media Contacts: Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu, or Shannon Koontz, shkoontz@wfubmc.edu, at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University School of Medicine. It is licensed to operate 1,282 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of "America’s Best Hospitals" by U.S. News & World Report.

Karen Richardson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.wfubmc.edu/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cell Division at High Speed
19.06.2019 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Monitoring biodiversity with sound: how machines can enrich our knowledge
18.06.2019 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new manufacturing process for aluminum alloys

19.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

Inhaling air pollution-like irritant alters defensive heart-lung reflex for hypertension

19.06.2019 | Health and Medicine

Innovative powder revolutionises 3D metal printing

19.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>