Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

OHSU researchers produce first animal model for stress-induced movement disorder

02.04.2003


Research helps physicians understand rare form of ataxia that causes patients to appear ’drunk’ at times


Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University are the first to produce an animal model for episodic ataxia. The condition causes patients to suffer bouts of extreme clumsiness where they have balance, speech and motor difficulties. The research helps scientists better understand this rare and intriguing disorder. It may also help provide valuable information for improved, targeted drugs for treatment. The research is printed in the April edition of the journal Nature Neuroscience. It was conducted in conjunction with researchers at the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

"By developing a mouse model for episodic ataxia, we now have a valuable tool to better understand and treat the disease," said James Maylie, Ph.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the OHSU School of Medicine. "We have already used this animal model to observe and learn more about cellular mechanisms behind the disease. These disease-linked cells are located in the cerebellum, a portion of the brain involved in motor coordination."

The research also helps explain how a medication commonly used to treat patients works. "Acetazolamide is often given to patients with episodic ataxia," Maylie said. "Using these mice models, we were able to establish how acetazolamide acts at a cellular level to combat the disorder, something that was previously unknown."



Approximately 150,000 Americans are affected by the various forms of ataxia. The disorder is characterized by poor motor coordination. Specifically, it can cause hand coordination problems, poor balance and slurred speech. People with ataxia are often accused of acting drunk. In most ataxia disorders, the coordination problems are present all the time. In episodic ataxia, the coordination problems come on suddenly, often in stressful situations, and last for minutes or hours.

"Episodic ataxia is one form of the condition involving intermittent spells where sufferers simply can’t control their limbs," said John Nutt, M.D., director of the Parkinson Center of Oregon, which also treats patients with ataxia. "These attacks can last anywhere from a couple of minutes to three or four hours, and they are often triggered by stress, exercise or vigorous activity. In between episodes, patients are completely normal. Episodic ataxia is frequently caused by genetic mutations, but in some cases, multiple sclerosis can be the cause."

Years ago Nutt and his colleagues helped define clinical features of what they thought were three different types of inherited episodic ataxia while working with families seen in the OHSU neurogenetics clinic. In 1994 OHSU researchers Michael Litt, Ph.D., professor of molecular and medical genetics in the OHSU School of Medicine, and research associate David Browne, Ph.D., determined that the disease was caused in some families by a mutation in a gene that controls the flow of potassium in and out of nerve cells. This was the first human disease linked to the malfunction of a potassium gene. Testing all the families with this disorder in the neurogenetics clinic proved that two genes, and not three genes as the clinicians had thought, were responsible for the episodic ataxias. Subsequently other investigators found that a second variant of episodic ataxia was caused by a mutation in a gene that controlled the flow of calcium through the cell membrane.


This research was funded by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, a component of the National Institutes of Health, and the National Ataxia Foundation.

Jim Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Why might reading make myopic?
18.07.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Tübingen

nachricht Unique brain 'fingerprint' can predict drug effectiveness
11.07.2018 | McGill University

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Global study of world's beaches shows threat to protected areas

19.07.2018 | Earth Sciences

New creepy, crawly search and rescue robot developed at Ben-Gurion U

19.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Metal too 'gummy' to cut? Draw on it with a Sharpie or glue stick, science says

19.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>