Study brings secrets of brain cell communication closer

(Medical Xpress) -- Researchers at The University of Queensland's Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) have taken a significant step towards unravelling the mechanism by which communication between brain cells occurs.

Findings from a study just published in Nature Communications reveals that the (fat) from the membranes of controls the movement of vesicles containing called neurotransmitters.

QBI's Associate Professor Frederic Meunier, who led the study, says these findings were made possible through experimentation with very selective compounds affecting the membrane.

“Our findings explain how minute changes in the lipid composition of our neurons can have a dramatic effect on the way these cells communicate with each other in the brain,” he says.

“We found that the lipid phosphatidylinositol(4,5)bisphosphate orchestrates the mobilization and movement of secretory vesicles towards the plasma membrane of neurosecretory cells.”

According to Associate Professor Meunier, a better understanding of the mechanism underpinning neurotransmitter release will aid scientists' ongoing fight against the plethora of diseases affecting neuronal communication in the brain.

“Changes in lipid composition have already been shown to be a factor contributing to the development of dementia in Alzheimer's disease,” he says.

“We hope that developing novel compounds targetting the fat lipid composition of biological membranes could ultimately help in the treatment of such disorders.”

Related Stories

New route to map brain fat

May 04, 2011

Mapping the fat distribution of the healthy human brain is a key step in understanding neurological diseases, in general, and the neurodegeneration that accompanies Alzheimer's disease in particular. Antonio Veloso and colleagues, ...

Bees yield clues to unlocking brain disorders

Jun 02, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- Queensland Brain Institute researchers are a step closer to unlocking the mysteries of disorders like schizophrenia and autism – through peering into the brains of bees.

Understanding the link between HIV and dementia

Jun 29, 2011

(Medical Xpress) -- HIV can hide out in the brain, protected from the immune system and antiviral drugs, Dr. Lachlan Gray and his colleagues at Monash University and the Burnet Institute have found.

Recommended for you

Student seeks to improve pneumonia vaccines

15 hours ago

Almost a million Americans fall ill with pneumonia each year. Nearly half of these cases require hospitalization, and 5-7 percent are fatal. Current vaccines provide protection against some strains of the ...

Seabed solution for cold sores

16 hours ago

The blue blood of abalone, a seabed delicacy could be used to combat common cold sores and related herpes virus following breakthrough research at the University of Sydney.

Better living through mitochondrial derived vesicles

Aug 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—As principal transformers of bacteria, organelles, synapses, and cells, vesicles might be said to be the stuff of life. One need look no further than the rapid rise to prominence of The ...

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer's disease

Aug 19, 2014

New fundamental knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain. A new study by scientists at ...

User comments