Navigation Links
Plant extract offers hope for infant motor neuron therapy

A chemical found in plants could reduce the symptoms of a rare muscle disease that leaves children with little or no control of their movements.

Scientists have found that a plant pigment called quercetin found in some fruits, vegetables, herbs and grains could help to prevent the damage to nerves associated with the childhood form of motor neuron disease.

Their findings could pave the way for new treatments for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) also known as floppy baby syndrome which is a leading genetic cause of death in children.

The team has found that the build-up of a specific molecule inside cells called beta-catenin is responsible for some of the symptoms associated with the condition.

In tests on zebrafish, flies and mice, scientists found that treating the disease with purified quercetin which targets beta-catenin led to a significant improvement in the health of nerve and muscle cells.

Quercetin did not prevent all of the symptoms associated with the disorder but researchers hope that it could offer a useful treatment option in the early stages of disease.

They now hope to create better versions of the chemical that are more effective than naturally-occurring quercetin.

SMA is caused by a mutation in a gene that is vital for the survival of nerve cells that connect the brain and spinal cord to the muscles, known as motor neurons. Until now, it was not known how the mutation damages these cells and causes disease.

The study reveals that the mutated gene affects a key housekeeping process that is required for removing unwanted molecules from cells in the body. When this process doesn't work properly, molecules can build-up and cause problems inside the cells.

Children with SMA experience progressive muscle wastage and loss of mobility and control of their movements. The disorder is often referred to as 'floppy baby syndrome' because of the weakness that it creates.

It affects one in 6000 babies and around half of children with the most severe form will die before the age of two.

The study is published today in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Professor Tom Gillingwater from the University of Edinburgh, who led the study, said: "This is an important step that could one day improve quality of life for the babies affected by this condition and their families. There is currently no cure for this kind of neuromuscular disorder so new treatments that can tackle the progression of disease are urgently needed."


Contact: Jen Middleton
University of Edinburgh

Related biology news :

1. Are plants more intelligent than we assumed?
2. Plants convert energy at lightning speed
3. Unearthing key function of plant hormone
4. Researchers trap moths with plant-produced sex pheromone
5. Tiger lily heights controlled with flurprimidol preplant bulb soaks
6. Roots to shoots: Hormone transport in plants deciphered
7. Neighbor-plants determine insects feeding choices
8. Neimark Award winners study statistics, chemistry, plant sciences, astrophysics and linguistics
9. Revolutionary new view on heritability in plants
10. Design prototype chip makes possible a fully implantable cochlear implant
11. Cochlear implants -- with no exterior hardware
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... , Oct. 29, 2015  The J. Craig ... report titled, "DNA Synthesis and Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and ... Department of Health and Human Services guidance for synthetic ... 2010. --> --> ... also has the potential to pose unique biosecurity threats. ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... OXFORD, Connecticut , October 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... "Company"), a biometric authentication company focused on the ... Wocket® smart wallet announces that StackCommerce, a leading ... will be featuring the Wocket® smart wallet on ... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ... that Google has adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ... to power its newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X ... --> --> Synaptics ... provide strategic collaboration in the joint development of next ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Pittcon is pleased to ... presentations offered in symposia, oral sessions, workshops, awards, and posters. The core ... of applications such as, but not limited to, biotechnology, biomedical, drug discovery, environmental, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... CHESHAM , England , November 26, ... Lightpoint Medical, an innovative medical device company specializing in ... Euro grant from the European Commission as part of the ... enabling the company to carry out a large-scale clinical trial ... -->      (Logo: , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015 2 nouvelles études permettent d ... les différences entre les souches bactériennes retrouvées dans la plaque ... êtres humains . Ces recherches  ouvrent une nouvelle ... en charge efficace de l,un des problèmes de ... .    --> 2 nouvelles études permettent ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 2015  Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: NBIX ) ... CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, will be presenting at the ... New York . .   ... 5 minutes prior to the presentation to download or ... will be available on the website approximately one hour ...
Breaking Biology Technology: