Navigation Links
Neurochemical traffic signals may open new avenues for the treatment of schizophrenia
Date:6/5/2013

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have uncovered important clues about a biochemical pathway in the brain that may one day expand treatment options for schizophrenia. The study, published online in the journal Molecular Pharmacology, was led by faculty within the department of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at BUSM.

Patients with schizophrenia suffer from a life-long condition that can produce delusions, disordered thinking, and breaks with reality. A number of treatments are available for schizophrenia, but many patients do not respond to these therapies or experience side effects that limit their use.

This research focused on key components of the brain known as NMDA receptors. These receptors are located on nerve cells in the brain and serve as biochemical gates that allow calcium ions (electrical charges) to enter the cell when a neurotransmitter, such as glutamate, binds to the receptor. Proper activation of these receptors is critical for sensory perception, memory and learning, including the transfer of short-term memory into long-term storage. Patients with schizophrenia have poorly functioning or "hypoactive" NMDA receptors, suggesting the possibility of treatment with drugs that positively affect these receptors. Currently the only way to enhance NMDA receptor function is through the use of agents called agonists that directly bind to the receptor on the outer surface of the cell, opening the gates to calcium ions outside the cell.

In this study, the researchers discovered a novel "non-canonical" pathway in which NMDA receptors residing inside the cell are stimulated by a neuroactive steroid to migrate to the cell surface (a process known as trafficking), thus increasing the number of receptors available for glutamate activation. The researchers treated neural cells from the cerebral cortex with the novel steroid pregnenolone sulfate (PregS) and found that the number of working NMDA receptors on the cell surface increased by 60 to 100 percent within 10 minutes. The exact mechanism by which this occurs is not completely clear, but it appears that PregS increases calcium ions within the cell, which in turn produces a green light signal for more frequent trafficking of NMDA receptors to the cell surface.

Although still in the early stages, further research in this area may be instrumental in the development of treatments not only for schizophrenia, but also for other conditions associated with malfunctioning NMDA receptors, such as age-related decreases in memory and learning ability.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jenny Eriksen
jenny.eriksen@bmc.org
617-638-6841
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Reducing traffic at 2008 Olympics yielded large cut in CO2
2. Symbols, such as traffic lights, on menus effective in educating diners
3. A new method for measuring the flow of traffic a street has to bear by measuring atmospheric noise
4. Long-term exposure to fine particles of traffic pollution increases risk of heart disease
5. Deterring signals: Tobacco plants advertise their defensive readiness to attacking leafhoppers
6. Bacterium signals plant to open up and let friends in
7. Noise down, neuron signals up
8. Corals attacked by toxic seaweed use chemical 911 signals to summon help
9. Scientists pinpoint molecular signals that make some women prone to miscarriage
10. Social bees mark dangerous flowers with chemical signals
11. Researchers discover a missing link in signals contributing to neurodegeneration
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/27/2017)... , Feb. 27, 2017   Strategic Cyber ... announced it has led a $3.5 million investment in  ... platform. Strategic Cyber Ventures is DC based and is ... Hank Thomas . Ron Gula , also ... Ventures, also participated in this series A round of ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... LONDON , Feb. 22, 2017 ... by 2021, ABI Research identifies four technologies that ... solutions to secure significant share in the changing ... payments, and passive authentication.   "Companies ... it comes to security," says Dimitrios Pavlakis ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... 16, 2017  Genos, a community for personal ... has received Laboratory Accreditation from the College of ... to laboratories that meet stringent requirements around quality, ... processes. "Genos is committed to maintaining ... We,re honored to be receiving CAP accreditation," said ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017   iSpecimen ®, ... that Doctors Pathology Service (DPS), a full-service ... the United States , has joined ... Health Information Network (DHIN) to make human biospecimens ... The novel program, announced in 2015 as a ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017   VWR ... provider of product and service solutions to ... it has acquired EPL Archives, Inc., an ... across the entire regulated product research, development ... document storage and ancillary services. EPL Archives ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... March 21, 2017 , ... ... Kickstarter , more than tripling its goal and raising over $30,000 in the ... garden that grows nutritious veggies & herbs fast, easy, and affordably, anywhere. , ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... March 22, 2017...Council for Agricultural Science ... revolution, one that utilizes technological innovation in smart, sustainable ways. Humans depend on plants ... as aesthetics and environmental stability. This paper is the first in a series that ...
Breaking Biology Technology: