Navigation Links
Microsurgery on the brain of the fruit fly leads to new insights into irreparable nerve injuries
Date:6/3/2008

Leuven, Belgium − Every year, one million Europeans are confronted with potentially irreparable brain or spinal cord injuries resulting from traffic accidents. Because the nerves in a damaged spinal cord cannot, or cannot fully, be repaired, the patient remains (partially) paralyzed. Now, VIB scientists connected to the K.U.Leuven have become the first to successfully develop a simple model that enables the study of injured brain tissue. The researchers have perfected a technique for keeping the cultured brain of a fruit fly alive and healthy for a longer period of time. With the aid of microsurgery, this new technique enables scientists to inflict injury on certain nerve bundles for research purposes. By means of this new fruit fly model, the researchers have already succeeded in showing that the activation of a particular signaling pathway (JNK) induces the regeneration of axons. This research offers positive perspectives for patients with nerve injuries that have been irreversible up to now.

Drosophila as model organism

The Drosophila melanogaster fruit fly is an important, low-cost model organism with a 60% genetic similarity to humans. The fruit fly is playing a significant role in the elucidation of various neurological processes (such as the functioning of our memory and our sense of smell) as well as in the study of certain neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer's disease). Until recently, scientists could only use model organisms belonging to the vertebrates (e.g., the mouse) to study injuries to the nervous system and the possibility of regenerating damaged axons. However, the fruit fly model is more user-friendly and allows faster, large-scale genetic analyses.

The fruit fly brain in culture

Although the fruit fly model is used for numerous diseases, until now it has not been possible to study the repair of damaged axons with fruit flies. Indeed, the fruit fly's brain is difficult to access due to the fly's external skeleton, which prevents reproducible, physical manipulations of the living brain. Under the direction of VIB researcher Bassem Hassan, and in collaboration with international experts, Derya Ayaz, Maarten Leyssen and their colleagues have now developed a new technique in which the fruit fly's entire brain is cultured, enabling long-term experimentation (i.e., manipulation and observation) on the living fruit fly brain.

Fruit fly brain as model for studying damaged nerve bundles

The researchers have used this new technique explicitly to develop a fruit fly model for the regeneration of axons after injury. With the aid of micro-dissection, the researchers inflicted injuries on the nerve fibers and then studied them for several days. As is the case for humans, the regeneration of damaged nerve bundles in fruit fly brains is as good as non-existent.

In a next step, the researchers are using this new model to study which molecular processes might be able to promote this regeneration. They have already demonstrated that activation of the JNK signaling pathway positively influences the repair of nerve bundles. JNK activation not only stimulates the growth of the severed nerves but the nerves also grow correctly in the direction of their original target region in the brain.

Perspectives for the future

In the future, this new model can be used to identify new molecules that are involved in the repair of damaged nerve bundles. These molecules will then be candidate molecules for further research with humans, and they can possibly form the basis of new treatments for patients with a nerve injury that has been irreparable up to now.


'/>"/>

Contact: Evy Vierstraete
info@vib.be
329-244-6611
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. ONCOSCIENCE AG, THE EUROPEAN PARTNER OF YM BIOSCIENCES, ANNOUNCES COMPLETION OF PATIENT ENROLLMENT IN PHASE III BRAIN CANCER TRIAL OF NIMOTUZUMAB
2. YM BioSciences USA cleared by US FDA to initiate Phase II clinical trial of nimotuzumab in children with inoperable, recurrent brain cancer
3. NIH grants $750,000 to develop device to determine temperature of neonates brain
4. InSightec Resumes Clinical Trials for Non-Invasive Treatment of Brain Tumors
5. Scientists create colorful brainbow images of the nervous system
6. Mouse Brain or Impressionist Painting?
7. GlaxoSmithKline Announces Data on TYKERB(R) (Lapatinib) Plus Capecitabine for the Treatment of HER2 Positive Breast Cancer Brain Metastases
8. Henry Ford Hospital and Rosetta Genomics to Develop MicroRNA-based Diagnostics for Brain Cancer
9. Elekta Chosen to Deliver Sophisticated Brain Mapping Technology to The Nebraska Medical Center
10. BrainCells Inc. Completes $30 Million Initial Closing of Series B Financing
11. Elekta Chosen to Deliver Sophisticated Brain Mapping Technology to Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016 Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital has ... Association to serve as their official health care ... Willowbrook will provide sponsorship support, athletic training services, ... coaches, volunteers, athletes and families. "We ... Association and to bring Houston Methodist quality services ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEW YORK , June, 23, 2016  The ... students to envision new ways to harness living systems ... of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York ... more than 130 participating students, showcased projects at MoMA,s ... included Paola Antonelli , MoMA,s senior curator of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... OTTAWA, ON (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... former DNA Technical Leader at the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA ... joining the STACS DNA team,” said Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. , June 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... offering new biological discoveries to the medical community, has ... and co-founder Matthew Nunez . "We ... provide us with the capital we need to meet ... funding will essentially provide us the runway to complete ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/31/2016)... PROVIDENCE, R.I. , March 31, 2016  Genomics ... leadership of founding CEO, Barrett Bready , M.D., ... addition, members of the original technical leadership team, including ... Vice President of Product Development, Steve Nurnberg and Vice ... have returned to the company. Dr. Bready ...
(Date:3/23/2016)... , March 23, 2016 ... Interesse erhöhter Sicherheit Gesichts- und Stimmerkennung mit ... Inc. (NASDAQ: MESG ), ein ... dass das Unternehmen mit SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um ... der Finanzdienstleistungsbranche, wird die Möglichkeit angeboten, im ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... PROVO and SANDY, ... Screening Ontario (NSO), which operates the highest sample volume ... testing, and Tute Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical ... today announced the launch of a project to establish ... testing panel. NSO has been contracted ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):