Navigation Links
Immune molecule regulates brain connections
Date:2/27/2011

The number of connections between nerve cells in the brain can be regulated by an immune system molecule, according to a new study from UC Davis. The research, published Feb. 27 in the journal Nature Neuroscience, reveals a potential link between immunity, infectious disease and conditions such as schizophrenia or autism.

Schizophrenia, autism and other disorders are associated with changes in connectivity in the brain, said Kimberley McAllister, associate professor in the Center for Neuroscience and Departments of Neurology and Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior at UC Davis. Those changes affect the ability of the brain to process information correctly.

"Certain immune genes and immune dysregulation have also been associated with autism and schizophrenia, and the immune molecules that we study in brain development could be a pathway that contributes to that altered connectivity," McAllister said.

The study does not show a direct link between immune responses and autism, but rather reveals a molecular pathway through which a peripheral immune response or particular genetic profile could alter early brain development, McAllister said.

The researchers looked at a protein called Major Histocompatibility Complex type 1 (MHC type I). In both rodents and humans, these proteins vary between individuals, and allow the immune system to distinguish between 'self' and 'non-self.' They play a role, for example, in rejecting transplanted organs and in defending against cancer and virus infections.

In this and another recently published study, McAllister's group found that MHC type I molecules are present on young brain cells during early postnatal development. To test their function, they studied mice lacking MHC type I on the surface of neurons, as well as isolated neurons from mice and rats with altered levels of MHC type I. They found that when the density of these molecules on the surface of a brain cell goes up, the number of connections, or synapses, it has with neighboring brain cells goes down. The reverse was also true: decreased MHC expression increased synaptic connections.

"The effect on synapse density was mediated through MHC type I proteins," McAllister said.

"But these immune proteins don't just regulate synapse density, they also determine the balance of excitation and inhibition on young neurons -- a property critical for information processing and plasticity in young brains."

Expression of MHCI on neurons was itself regulated by neural activity, the team found, and MHCI mediated the ability of neural activity to alter synaptic connections.

About 10 years ago, other researchers discovered that MHC type I is involved in elimination of connections during a critical period of late postnatal brain development.

"We have now found that there is another role for MHC type I in establishing connections during early postnatal development of the brain," McAllister said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andy Fell
ahfell@ucdavis.edu
530-752-4533
University of California - Davis
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genes of the immune system are associated with increased risk of mental illness
2. Plants immune defense revs up for the morning attack
3. New clue to lupus: Failed autoimmune suppression mechanism
4. Cancer Research Institute invests $450k in Oncovir to manufacture powerful immune stimulant
5. Red blood cell hormone modulates the immune system
6. BUSM awarded NIH grant to identify role of immune system in chronic inflammation, disease
7. Scientists find the master switch for key immune cells in inflammatory diseases
8. New imaging advance illuminates immune response in breathing lung
9. Researchers discover human immune system has emergency backup plan
10. Immune system changes linked to inflammatory bowel disease revealed
11. Scripps Research scientists redefine the role of plasma cells in the immune system
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/1/2016)... -- Rising sales of consumer electronics coupled ... gesture control market size through ... electronics coupled with new technological advancements to drive global ... through 2020   --> Rising ... to drive global touchfree intuitive gesture control market ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... ( www.wocketwallet.com ) announces the launch of a new video featuring singer, ... Las Vegas , where Joey appeared at the Wocket booth to ... , where Joey appeared at the Wocket booth to meet and greet ... the Consumer Electronics Show (CES2016) in Las Vegas , ... --> --> The video is ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... 2016  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment ... Chester, Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS ... in Austin, Texas , will significantly ... modifications, installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track ... commented, "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... a wide range of loose, bulk foods at various stages of the production ... also used to inspect large bulk products post packaging such as sacks of ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... , February 8, 2016 ... ("Atlas Genetics" or the "Company"), the ultra-rapid Point-Of-Care (POC) molecular ... CE Mark its Chlamydia trachomatis (CT) test to be launched ... the IVD Directive (98/79/EC), the CT test is now cleared ... --> The launch of the io® CT ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... , Feb. 5, 2016 On Thursday, ... trusted information source for community, health and disaster services, ... will integrate to enhance care coordination and service ... the services they need and to better connect service ... care.   San Diego has ...
(Date:2/4/2016)... Calif. , Feb. 4, 2016  Sangamo BioSciences, ... genome editing, announced today that Edward Lanphier , ... update on the progress of Sangamo,s ZFP Therapeutic ® ... business strategy at 2:40 pm ET on Thursday, February ... Annual Global Healthcare Conference. The conference is being held ...
Breaking Biology Technology: