Navigation Links
Zebra fish point the way towards new therapies for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
Date:8/27/2012

Leuven scientists (VIB/KU Leuven) are using zebrafish as a model in their search for genes that play a role in the mechanism of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). As a result, they have identified a molecule that could be the target for a future ALS treatment. ALS is a progressive degenerative motor neuron disease for which there currently is no treatment. Their study has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Medicine.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS

ALS is a progressive paralyzing disease caused by the destruction of the neurons connecting to the muscles. As a result, ALS patients gradually lose control over their muscles and eventually become completely paralyzed while their mental capacity remains intact. In spite of the enormous medical and social impacts of this grave degenerative illness, the mechanisms behind its pathogenesis remain a mystery. There is no known treatment.

Zebra fish as a model

Using an unusual zebrafish model for ALS that these scientists developed earlier, Wim Robberecht's research team searched for genes that either worsened or improved the phenotype of the disease. In the current study, Annelies Van Hoecke and Wim Robberecht and their colleagues identified the EphA4 receptor as a genetic factor that modifies the clinical picture of ALS in zebrafish. Eliminating this receptor in zebrafish led to the disappearance of the illness, while blocking the receptor in mice resulted in a clear improvement of the animals' life expectancy. The research also showed a link in ALS patients between the expression of the EphA4 receptor and the severity of the illness. ALS patients who express the receptor in limited amounts develop the disease later and have a better life expectancy than ALS patients who produce large amounts of the receptor. They also found that EphA4 prevented neurons from recovering from damage and that the cells that were actually the most susceptible to ALS expressed high levels of the receptor.

Proof-of-concept study

This study is very promising and proves that small model organisms such as zebrafish can be valuable tools in the search for a therapy for ALS. It also shows that molecules that are essential for the development of the nervous system can play a role in the mechanism of neurodegenerative disorders in adulthood. Finally, the results suggest that blocking EphA4 modifies the course of the disease, meaning that the receptor may be a good target for a future ALS drug. Of course, there is still a long road ahead before such a drug will be available to patients.


'/>"/>

Contact: Evy Vierstraete
info@vib.be
32-924-46611
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Study of zebra fish mouth formation may speak to Fraser syndrome hearing loss
2. Zebrafish -- the stars of biomedicine
3. Zebrafish provide insights into causes and treatment of human diseases
4. Zebrafish research shows how dietary fat regulates cholesterol absorption
5. Versatility of zebrafish research highlighted at international conference
6. Environmental estrogens affect early developmental activity in zebrafish
7. Zebrafish could hold the key to understanding psychiatric disorders
8. Better housing conditions for zebrafish could improve research results
9. U OF A expert pinpoints nutrient behind fresh water algae blooms
10. NPointer from Neurotechnology Uses Hand Gestures to Control and Navigate Computer Programs Without a Mouse or Touchpad
11. Chromosomal translocations point the way toward personalized cancer care
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/30/2017)... LOS ANGELES , March 30, 2017  On ... Hack the Genome hackathon at ... This exciting two-day competition will focus on developing health ... experience. Hack the Genome is ... has been tremendous. The world,s largest companies in the ...
(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)... 28, 2017 The report "Video ... Monitors, Servers, Storage Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), and ... Global Forecast to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... is projected to reach USD 75.64 Billion by 2022, ... The base year considered for the study is 2016 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... International research firm Parks Associates announced today that ... TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , October 11 in Scottsdale, ... security market and how smart safety and security products impact the competitive ... Parks Associates: Smart Home Devices: Main ... "The residential security market has experienced continued ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding contributions to ... symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national board meeting in North ... in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected for membership in ... winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics for the discovery of ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now expanding into ... a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. Services will ...
Breaking Biology Technology: