Navigation Links
In what ways does lead damage the brain?
Date:2/29/2012

NEW YORK (Feb. 29, 2012)Exposure to lead wreaks havoc in the brain, with consequences that include lower IQ and reduced potential for learning. But the precise mechanism by which lead alters nerve cells in the brain has largely remained unknown.

New research led by Toms R. Guilarte, PhD, Leon Hess Professor and Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, and post-doctoral research scientist Kirstie H. Stansfield, PhD, used high-powered fluorescent microscopy and other advanced techniques to painstakingly chart the varied ways lead inflicts its damage. They focused on signaling pathways involved in the production of brain-derived neurotropic factor, or BDNF, a chemical critical to the creation of new synapses in the hippocampus, the brain's center for memory and learning.

The study appears online in the journal Toxicological Sciences.

Once BDNF is produced in the nucleus, explains Dr. Stansfield, it is transported as cargo in a railroad-car-like vesicle along a track called a microtubule toward sites of release in the axon and dendritic spines. Vesicle navigation is controlled in part through activation (phosphorylation) of the huntingtin protein, which as its name suggests, was first identified through research into Huntington's disease. By looking at huntingtin expression, the researchers found that lead exposure, even in small amounts, is likely to impede or reverse the train by altering phosphorylation at a specific amino acid.

The BDNF vesicle transport slowdown is just one of a variety of ways that lead impedes BDNF's function. The researchers also explored how lead curbs production of BDNF in the cell nucleus. One factor, they say, may be a protein called methyl CpG binding protein 2, or MeCP2, which has been linked with RETT syndrome and autism spectrum disorders and acts to "silence" BDNF gene transcription.

The paper provides the first comprehensive working model of the ways by which lead exposure impairs synapse development and function. "Lead attacks the most fundamental aspect of the brainthe synapse. But by better understanding the numerous and complex ways this happens we will be better able to develop therapies that ameliorate the damage," says Dr. Guilarte.


'/>"/>

Contact: Timothy S. Paul
tp2111@columbia.edu
212-305-2676
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study says overweight Americans may risk kidney damage when attempting weight loss
2. Drug halts organ damage in inflammatory genetic disorder
3. Heat and cold damage corals in their own ways, Scripps study shows
4. European Research Council supports search for regulators of tissue damage
5. Oxidative DNA damage repair
6. New international Ph.D. program on Dynamics of Gene Regulation, Epigenetics and DNA Damage Response
7. Adult stem cells use special pathways to repair damaged muscle, MU researchers find
8. Brain, repair thyself: Studies highlight brains resiliency to damage
9. Scarring a necessary evil to prevent further damage after heart attack
10. New report offers broad approach to assessing impacts of ecological damage
11. Rutgers neuroscientist says protein could prevent secondary damage after stroke
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/14/2017)... IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner startups at VivaTech ... startups and global businesses, taking place in Paris ... will showcase the solutions they have built with IBM Watson ... France is one of the most dynamic ... in the number of startups created between 2012 and 2015*, ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... -- Veratad Technologies, LLC ( www.veratad.com ), an innovative and ... solutions, announced today they will participate as a sponsor ... May 17, 2017, in Washington D.C.,s ... Identity impacts the lives of billions of ... digital world, defining identity is critical to nearly every ...
(Date:5/6/2017)... May 5, 2017 RAM Group ... a new breakthrough in biometric authentication based on ... mechanical properties to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors ... material created by Ram Group and its partners. This ... transportation, supply chains and security. Ram Group is ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/15/2017)... Linda, Ca (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 ... ... coffee production and is threatened by various biotic and abiotic factors. During this ... complex evolutionary history of coffee, as well as gain a better understanding of ...
(Date:8/14/2017)... , ... August 14, 2017 , ... ... essential device-to-computer interconnect using USB or PCI Express, announced the release of SYZYGY™, ... is intended to satisfy the need for a compact, low cost, low pin-count, ...
(Date:8/11/2017)... San Antonio, Texas (PRWEB) , ... August 11, 2017 , ... ... launching a rebranding campaign this month that will incorporate important key elements including a ... to thank the community that has supported them, Bill Miller has partnered with the ...
(Date:8/10/2017)... ... August 09, 2017 , ... As a full-service marketing agency, ... customers with the right message. Their effective, cutting-edge inbound marketing strategies are available ... how crucial the agriculture industry is,” said David Phelps, chief marketing officer at ...
Breaking Biology Technology: