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Biological signal processing: Body cells -- instrumentalists in a symphony orchestra
Date:7/3/2014

e melody," Skupin continues the musical analogy. "You have to hear how the frequency and volume of all instruments vary and produce the melody. Then you gain an impression of the musical piece."

Now, for the first time, the researchers have managed to gain such an impression of the whole by listening in on the cells' communications. They discovered that the plethora of calcium impulses vary relatively to one another in a specific relationship: A stimulus from outside does not lead to an absolute increase in calcium impulses, but instead to a change in the frequency at which they occur in the concert hall, the notes of the instruments rise and fall in symphony. "This pattern is the actual signal that leads to a response in the cells," Skupin says. "With our analyses, we have rendered it interpretable."

"The results are of great importance for analyzing diseases," says Director of LCSB Prof. Dr. Rudi Balling. "We know that, in Parkinson's disease, the calcium balance in the nerve cells is disrupted, and suspect that errant communications between the cells could play a role in the onset of neurodegenerative diseases. With the discovery of the fundamental laws of these communications, as Alexander Skupin, his team and our cooperation partners have now achieved, we are set to take a major step forward in the analysis of Parkinson's disease."


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Contact: Britta Schlüter
britta.schlueter@uni.lu
352-466-644-6563
University of Luxembourg
Source:Eurekalert  

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