Study reveal brain cells' weakest links

September 21, 2012

(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.

Explore further: Tracking proteins behaving badly provides insights for treatments of brain diseases

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 8, 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

December 2, 2011

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

Recommended for you

Brain's biological clock stimulates thirst before sleep

September 28, 2016

The brain's biological clock stimulates thirst in the hours before sleep, according to a study published in the journal Nature by researchers from the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC).

Some brains are blind to moving objects

September 28, 2016

As many as half of people are blind to motion in some part of their field of vision, but the deficit doesn't have anything to do with the eyes.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.