Study reveal brain cells' weakest links

(Medical Xpress)—People with degenerative neurological conditions could benefit from research that shows why their brain cells stop communicating properly.

Scientists believe that the findings could help to develop treatments that slow the progress of a broad range of such as Huntingdon's, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

The team at the University, led by Professor Tom Gillingwater, analysed how connection points between brain cells break down during disease and identified six proteins that control the process.

Sending signals

When connection points in the brain, known as synapses, stop working - because of injury or disease - the chain of brain signalling breaks down and cannot be repaired.

The research from The Roslin Institute and Centre for Integrative Physiology at the University will help scientists identify drugs that target these proteins.

This could eventually enable clinicians to slow the progress of these disorders.

"This study has identified key proteins that may control what goes wrong in a range of brain disorders. We now hope to identify drugs that prevent the breakdown of communication between and, as a result, halt the progress of these devastating ." said Dr Thomas Wishart, Career Track Fellow, The Roslin Institute at the University.

The study, published in , was funded by the Wellcome Trust and Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Molecular 'on-off' switch for Parkinson's disease discovered

May 23, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- Scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Protein Phosphorylation Unit at the University of Dundee have discovered a new molecular switch that acts to protect the brain from developing Parkinson's ...

Researchers 'switch off' neurodegeneration in mice

May 08, 2012

Researchers at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester have identified a major pathway leading to brain cell death in mice with neurodegenerative disease. The team was able to block ...

Protein sheds insight into vCJD

Dec 02, 2011

A protein linked to the immune system could play a key role in helping scientists understand how vCJD spreads throughout the body.

Toward new medications for chronic brain diseases

Apr 20, 2011

A needle-in-the-haystack search through nearly 390,000 chemical compounds had led scientists to a substance that can sneak through the protective barrier surrounding the brain with effects promising for new drugs for Parkinson's ...

Recommended for you

Steering the filaments of the developing brain

14 hours ago

During brain development, nerve fibers grow and extend to form brain circuits. This growth is guided by molecular cues (Fig. 1), but exactly how these cues guide axon extension has been unclear. Takuro Tojima ...

Do we really only use 10% of our brain?

15 hours ago

As the new film Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman is set to be released in the cinemas this week, I feel I should attempt to dispel the unfounded premise of the film – that we only use 10% of our brains ...

Birthday matters for wiring-up the brain's vision centers

Jul 31, 2014

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have evidence suggesting that neurons in the developing brains of mice are guided by a simple but elegant birth order rule that allows them to find ...

User comments