Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New findings disprove old truth about brain cells

16.11.2006
The most common cells in the brain changes their behavior when the tissue is damaged, but their appearance does not change nearly to the extent that researchers thought.

The domains of individual astrocytes are well contained in both healthy and damaged tissue. This is shown in a new study from the Sahlgrenska Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The study was performed in collaboration with a US research team. The findings are being presented in the scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Astrocytes are a type of non-neuronal cells that exits in all parts of the central nervous system. They form a complex network in the brain, where their offshoots are in constant contact with other astrocytes.

... more about:
»Brain »Wilhelmsson »astrocyte »shoots

"The discovery is a major step toward a better understanding of the course of events in brain damage, stroke, or dementia. Astrocytes control many neurological functions, including the brain's capacity to repair itself," says Professor Milos Pekny.

Until now scientists have assumed that astrocyte shoots grow longer and thicker in various pathological conditions and that this would mean that the cell shoots cross each other in the brain. This theory has now been disproven by the study, which provides another picture of how astrocytes are affected by a disease.

"It's true that the shoots from reactive astrocytes become thicker, but the overall range of the cells does not increase. Altogether cells attain the same volume of brain tissue as previously and they do not penetrate into the territory of neighboring astrocytes," says researcher Ulrika Wilhelmsson.

When there is damage to the brain or if a stroke occurs, astrocytes help limit the damage, but later they also cause negative scarring, which makes it more difficult for the brain to repair itself.

Previous studies have shown that in connection with brain damage astrocytes alter their production and release of molecules.

"Astrocytes communicate with each other by exchanging ions and various molecules through contact with the shoots of neighboring astrocytes. If the network is intact, as in stroke, it can be assumed that the astrocyte communication network is rather stable," says Ulrika Wilhelmsson.

Even though astrocytes are the most common cell type in the human brain, they have previously been difficult to study.

This study used a new strategy to visualize the shoots of reactive cells. A dye was injected into contiguous astrocytes so the scientists could see how much the domains of the cells overlapped.

The findings are based on studies of brain tissue from hippocampus and the cerebral cortex in mice.

Journal: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Title of article: Redefining the concept of reactive astrocytes as cells that remain within their unique domains upon reaction to injury

Authors: Ulrika Wilhelmsson, Eric A. Bushong, Diana L. Price, Benjamin L. Smarr, Van Phung, Masako Terada, Mark H. Ellisman, Milos Pekny

Professor Milos Pekny, phone: +46 31-773 32 69; cell phone: +46 70-913 48 65; e-mail: milos.pekny@medkem.gu.se Ulrika Wilhelmsson, PhD, phone: +46 31-773 34 65; e-mail: ulrika.wilhelmsson@neuro.gu.se

Elin Lindström Claessen | idw
Further information:
http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/103/46/17513
http://www.vr.se

Further reports about: Brain Wilhelmsson astrocyte shoots

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

nachricht First transcription atlas of all wheat genes expands prospects for research and cultivation
17.08.2018 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Smallest transistor worldwide switches current with a single atom in solid electrolyte

17.08.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Robots as Tools and Partners in Rehabilitation

17.08.2018 | Information Technology

Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves

17.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>