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Motor neuron disease and toxic substances: Possible link?
Date:3/20/2008

med genetic analysis that confirmed this location and excluded other areas in the genome. Among the many genes in this region of chromosome 19, one gene stood out as particularly likely: the gene that encodes for NTE. Because of its known role in organophosphate-induced neurological disease, the NTE gene was considered an important candidate gene and was studied immediately.

Analysis showed that the affected people in each family had NTE gene mutations. These mutations altered a critical part of the NTE protein called the esterase domain. Fink has named the inherited condition NTE motor neuron disease. It begins in childhood and progresses slowly, with symptoms of weakness and spasticity in the legs and muscle atrophy in the hands and lower legs.

Next, Fink and his team want to learn if mutations in the NTE gene happen in other types of motor neuron disease such as ALS, and if the mutations make a person more vulnerable to neurological damage from organophosphate exposure. Finks lab is currently using fruit flies as a model to study the NTE mutations, with the goal of finding treatments for people with motor neuron disease.


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Contact: Anne Rueter
arueter@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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