Navigation Links
Dopamine controls formation of new brain cells
Date:4/8/2011

A study of the salamander brain has led researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet to discover a hitherto unknown function of the neurotransmitter dopamine. In an article published in the prestigious scientific journal Cell Stem Cell they show how in acting as a kind of switch for stem cells, dopamine controls the formation of new neurons in the adult brain. Their findings may one day contribute to new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson's.

The study was conducted using salamanders which unlike mammals recover fully from a Parkinson's-like condition within a four week period. Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease characterised by the death of dopamine-producing cells in the mid-brain. As the salamander re-builds all lost dopamine-producing neurons, the researchers examined how the salamander brain detects the absence of these cells. This question is a fundamental one since it has not been known what causes the new formation of nerve cells and why the process ceases when the correct number have been made.

What they found out was that the salamander's stem cells are automatically activated when the dopamine concentration drops as a result of the death of dopamine-producing neurons, meaning that the neurotransmitter acts as a constant handbrake on stem cell activity.

"The medicine often given to Parkinson's patients is L-dopa, which is converted into dopamine in the brain," says Dr Andras Simon, who led the study at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology. "When the salamanders were treated with L-dopa, the production of new dopamine-producing neurons was almost completely inhibited and the animals were unable to recover. However, the converse also applies. If dopamine signalling is blocked, new neurons are born unnecessarily."

As in mammals, the formation of neurons in the salamander mid-brain is virtually non-existent under normal circumstances. Therefore by studying the salamander, scientists can understand how the production of new nerve cells can be resumed once it has stopped, and how it can be stopped when no more neurons are needed. It is precisely in this regulation that dopamine seems to play a vital part. Many observations also suggest that similar mechanisms are active in other animal species too. Further comparative studies can shed light on how neurotransmitters control stem cells in the brain, knowledge that is of potential use in the development of therapies for neurodegenerative diseases.

"One way of trying to repair the brain in the future is to stimulate the stem cells that exist there," says Dr Simon. "This is one of the perspectives from which our study is interesting and further work ought to be done on whether L-dopa, which is currently used in the treatment of Parkinson's, could prevent such a process in other species, including humans. Another perspective is how medicines that block dopamine signalling and that are used for other diseases, such as psychoses, affect stem cell dynamics in the brain."

The salamander is a tailed member of the frog family most known for its ability to regenerate lost body parts, such entire limbs.


'/>"/>

Contact: Katarina Sternudd
katarina.sternudd@ki.se
46-852-483-895
Karolinska Institutet
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Caltech scientists engineer supersensitive receptor, gain better understanding of dopamine system
2. Phasic firing of dopamine neurons is key to brains prediction of rewards
3. Caltech scientists find emotion-like behaviors, regulated by dopamine, in fruit flies
4. Receptor variant influences dopamine response to alcohol
5. Low grades in adolescence linked to dopamine genes
6. New insight into the controls on a go-to enzyme
7. New satellite data reveal impact of Olympic pollution controls
8. Nanotubes tapestry controls its growth
9. Protein linked to mental retardation controls synapse maturation, plasticity, CSHL team finds
10. Antioxidant controls spinal cord development
11. A single atom controls motility required for bacterial infection
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/16/2016)... --  EyeLock LLC , a market leader of iris-based ... IoT Center of Excellence in Austin, Texas ... embedded iris biometric applications. EyeLock,s iris authentication ... with unmatched biometric accuracy, making it the most proven ... platform uses video technology to deliver a fast and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... India , April 28, 2016 ... Infosys (NYSE: INFY ), and Samsung SDS, a ... that will provide end customers with a more secure, ... services.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130122/589162 ) , ... services, but it also plays a fundamental part in enabling ...
(Date:4/19/2016)... The new GEZE SecuLogic access ... "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It can ... door interface with integration authorization management system, and thus ... minimal dimensions of the access control and the optimum ... offer considerable freedom of design with regard to the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June, 23, 2016  The Biodesign Challenge ... envision new ways to harness living systems and biotechnology, ... Art (MoMA) in New York City ... 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s Celeste Bartos ... Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of architecture and ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA ... Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a ... STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, ... community, has closed its Series A funding round, according ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund ... to meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez ... to complete validation on the current projects in our ...
Breaking Biology Technology: