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

From happiness to pain: Understanding serotonin's function

12 hours ago

In a study published today, in the scientific journal PLoS One, researchers at the Champalimaud Neuroscience Programme establish the effect of serotonin on sensitivity to pain using a combination of advanced genetic and op ...

The striatum acts as hub for multisensory integration

22 hours ago

A new study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden provides insight on how the brain processes external input such as touch, vision or sound from different sources and sides of the body, in order to select ...

User comments