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 New nanomedicine slips through the cracks
24.04.2019 | University of Tokyo

nachricht Sugar entering the brain during septic shock causes memory loss
23.04.2019 | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

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: Energy-saving new LED phosphor

The human eye is particularly sensitive to green, but less sensitive to blue and red. Chemists led by Hubert Huppertz at the University of Innsbruck have now developed a new red phosphor whose light is well perceived by the eye. This increases the light yield of white LEDs by around one sixth, which can significantly improve the energy efficiency of lighting systems.

Light emitting diodes or LEDs are only able to produce light of a certain colour. However, white light can be created using different colour mixing processes.

Im Focus: Quantum gas turns supersolid

Researchers led by Francesca Ferlaino from the University of Innsbruck and the Austrian Academy of Sciences report in Physical Review X on the observation of supersolid behavior in dipolar quantum gases of erbium and dysprosium. In the dysprosium gas these properties are unprecedentedly long-lived. This sets the stage for future investigations into the nature of this exotic phase of matter.

Supersolidity is a paradoxical state where the matter is both crystallized and superfluid. Predicted 50 years ago, such a counter-intuitive phase, featuring...

Im Focus: Explosion on Jupiter-sized star 10 times more powerful than ever seen on our sun

A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter

  • Coolest and smallest star to produce a superflare found
  • Star is a tenth of the radius of our Sun
  • Researchers led by University of Warwick could only see...

Im Focus: Quantum simulation more stable than expected

A localization phenomenon boosts the accuracy of solving quantum many-body problems with quantum computers which are otherwise challenging for conventional computers. This brings such digital quantum simulation within reach on quantum devices available today.

Quantum computers promise to solve certain computational problems exponentially faster than any classical machine. “A particularly promising application is the...

Im Focus: Largest, fastest array of microscopic 'traffic cops' for optical communications

The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks

Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
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

Fraunhofer FHR at the IEEE Radar Conference 2019 in Boston, USA

09.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

Proteins stand up to nerve cell regression

24.04.2019 | Life Sciences

New sensor detects rare metals used in smartphones

24.04.2019 | Life Sciences

Controlling instabilities gives closer look at chemistry from hypersonic vehicles

24.04.2019 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>