Navigation Links
Parallel brainstem circuit discovery suggests new path in Parkinson's research
Date:5/19/2010

Chicago and Montreal researchers studying the lowly lamprey eel have identified an overlooked nervous system pathway running parallel to known brainstem locomotor command circuitry in vertebrates such as birds, fishes and mammals.

The finding is reported in Nature Neuroscience, online May 16, and highlighted in the magazine's "news and views" section.

Simon Alford, University of Illinois at Chicago professor of biological sciences and the article's corresponding author, said the role of a neurotransmitter associated with this parallel pathway may also suggest new research directions for treating Parkinson's disease.

Alford, along with his former graduate student and lead author Roy Smetana, now a University of Pittsburgh resident in psychiatry, worked with Universit de Montral and Universit de Qubec Montral neurobiologist Rjean Dubuc and his post-doctoral researcher Laurent Juvin in trying to sort out how the neurotransmitter analog muscarine modifies sensory information going to the brain.

Their work determined that muscarine stimulated neural activity, leading to locomotion in the laboratory lampreys.

The group focused its attention on a collection of brainstem neurons that tell the spinal cord to generate motor output that enables walking and other locomotion.

"We started looking at this group of neurons, which in the lamprey are conveniently very large, so they're easy to plant electrodes and record from," said Alford. "We discovered the muscarinic excitation was not working on these cells, but on a previously unknown group of cells within the brainstem."

What's more, these newly discovered brainstem neurons showed what Alford called a "very odd response" to the muscarine.

"Instead of just turning on -- like a synapse turns on a neuron and makes it fire -- when you put muscarine on these cells, they turn on and stay on" for a minute or longer which he said for a neurological reaction can be a very long time.

The researchers discovered the actual brain neurotransmitter that activates muscarine receptors -- another chemical, acetylcholine -- sends a signal to these newly discovered brainstem neurons, switching them on for the lengthy minute or so durations.

Alford said the finding opens up new insights into animal locomotion.

"It's a system for turning on your locomotor system and making you walk or run in a very coordinated, straight-line fashion sustaining locomotion for a considerable time," he said. "This simply was not known to exist before we discovered it."

The role of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine may ultimately suggest new Parkinson's disease treatments. While a key Parkinson's symptom is tremor, an advanced stage symptom is the inability to start a movement, such as walking. Symptoms associated with Parkinson's can be helped by reducing acetylcholine-mediated neurotransmission in the brain, but little work has focused on brainstem muscarine receptors in this disease.

"This may be a backdoor finding into a secondary effect of Parkinson's disease that's not well studied because most research emphasis has been on dopamine and the basal ganglia, a different neurotransmitter and region of the brain," Alford said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Paul Francuch
francuch@uic.edu
312-996-3457
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Quantum weirdness, parallel worlds, dinosaur poop, and the ultimate fate of the universe...
2. Small RNA plays parallel roles in bacterial metabolism
3. Microfluidic integrated circuit could help enable home diagnostic tests
4. Tissue engineering, imaging neuronal circuits featured in Cold Spring Harbor Protocols
5. Johns Hopkins scientists discover a controller of brain circuitry
6. NTU and EDB launch S$50 million ($36 million) integrated circuit design research center
7. Understanding a cells split personality aids synthetic circuits
8. Electrical circuit runs entirely off power in trees
9. Mouse brain rewires its neural circuits to recuperate from damaged neural function after stroke
10. CSHL study finds short- and long-term memories require same gene but in different circuits
11. Abnormal brain circuits may prevent movement disorder
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... -- On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will host the world,s ... at Microsoft,s headquarters in Redmond, Washington ... health and wellness apps that provide a unique, personalized ... is the first hackathon for personal genomics and the ... the genomics, tech and health industries are sending teams ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 2017 Trends, opportunities and forecast in this ... technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, ... end use industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and ... and others), and by region ( North America ... Asia Pacific , and the Rest of the ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... -- The report "Video Surveillance Market by ... Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), and Service (VSaaS, Installation ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market was valued at ... reach USD 75.64 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR ... considered for the study is 2016 and the forecast ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... line of medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating ... Kindred takes place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding into Analytical ... broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services will leverage ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... 2017  The 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry ... Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard ... microscopy (cryo-EM) have helped to broaden the ... community. The winners worked with systems manufactured by ... highly resolved, three-dimensional images of protein structures that ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... 06, 2017 , ... On Tuesday, October 24th, ABC² (Accelerate ... first-ever adaptive clinical trial for glioblastoma (GBM). The featured speaker will be Dr. ... open to the public, but registration is required. , WHAT: ABC² Brain ...
Breaking Biology Technology: