Navigation Links
Decoy pill saves brain cells

Tricking a key enzyme can soothe over-excited receptors in the brain, say neuroscientists, calling this a possible strategy against stroke, Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Lead author Michel Baudry of the University of Southern California, his graduate student Wei Xu and collaborators from the University of British Columbia outline their technique in the Feb. 1 issue of Neuron.

The researchers injected laboratory mice with a decoy peptide containing a snippet of a receptor that facilitates cell death in neurodegenerative diseases.

They hoped the toxic enzyme calpain would latch on to the decoy instead of the actual receptor, averting brain damage.

As a test, the researchers then injected the mice with kainic acid, a chemical known to cause seizures and neuron death.

While seizures still occurred, as in control mice, no brain lesions were observed in the subjects.

"We eliminate a big chunk of neuronal death," Baudry said. "I was surprised that this works. It looks like the peptide is almost completely neuroprotective."

Baudry, one of USC’s most frequently cited researchers, has been studying calpain and other chemicals in the brain for more than 20 years.

Scientists have known for decades that the neurotransmitter glutamate, which tells neurons to fire, can also destroy them. If over-activated, glutamate receptors start a chain reaction that raises the concentration of calcium and activates calpain, among other toxic enzymes.

But Baudry and Xu observed that in one receptor, mGluR1?, the situation is even worse. Under normal conditions, this receptor is neuroprotective. However, calpain truncates it and makes it neurodegenerative in such a way as to start a positive feedback loop that leads to ever-higher levels of calcium and continuous calpain activation.

In addition, by cutting mGluR1?, calpain eliminates its neuroprotective function.

The d ecoy, developed by Xu, reversed the outcomes. By tricking calpain, it prevented damage to the receptor and allowed the beneficial reaction to continue. In addition, it interrupted the feedback loop that stoked calpain activation.

"This is potentially a treatment for any conditions that involve this kind of excitotoxicity," Baudry said, and especially, he added, for the "window of opportunity" in the few hours after a stroke.

While a stroke kills some brain cells right away, others take much longer to die. If the stroke triggered a calcium-calpain feedback loop, treatment with decoy peptides might save some cells, Baudry said.

His group plans to test the treatment in a stroke model in mice.
'"/>

Source:University of Southern California


Related biology news :

1. Shark skin saves naval industry money
2. Controversial drug shown to act on brain protein to cut alcohol use
3. Mouse brain cells rapidly recover after Alzheimers plaques are cleared
4. Mouse brain tumors mimic those in human genetic disorder
5. New imaging method gives early indication if brain cancer therapy is effective, U-M study shows
6. First atlas of key brain genes could speed research on cancer, neurological diseases
7. NYU study reveals how brains immune system fights viral encephalitis
8. Stem cells from brain transformed to produce insulin at Stanford
9. Birds brains reveal source of songs
10. Loves all in the brain: fMRI study shows strong, lateralized reward, not sex, drive
11. Revolutionary nanotechnology illuminates brain cells at work

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/3/2016)... Feb. 3, 2016 Vigilant Solutions announces today ... in Missouri solved two recent ... (LPR) data from Vigilant Solutions. Brian Wenberg ... which the victim was walking out of a convenience store and witnessed an ... to his vehicle, striking his vehicle and leaving the ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... analysis of the bioinformatic market by reviewing the ... computer enabled tools that drive the field forward. ... report to: Identify the challenges and opportunities ... service providers and software solution developers, as well ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... Va. , Feb. 2, 2016   ... award from the U.S. Army Research Office and ... the range and sensitivity of the company,s ... Past Accounting Mission and, more generally, defense-related DNA ... DNA phenotyping capabilities (predicting appearance and ancestry from ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Global Stem Cells Group, a ... Stem Cells Network (GSCN) to distribute exosome injection and other biological products to ... Rica, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Argentina, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Venezuela, Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... MONTREAL , Febr. 10, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. ... is pleased to announce that Mitsui & Co. Ltd., ... bio-based succinic acid plant, is investing an additional CDN$25 ... equity, increasing its stake from 30% to 40%.  Mitsui ... of bio-succinic acid produced in Sarnia ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016  The Maryland House of Delegates and House ... University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. ... Maryland Medical System President and CEO Robert Chrencik ... highest honor given to the public by the leader ... Reece and Mr. Chrencik for their contributions to ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... 2016 ASAE is introducing a hybrid membership ... (AMC) the option of joining or renewing through an ... by staff size, every employee in any size association ... reap all available member benefits.   John ... membership options will allow organizations of any size and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: