Navigation Links
Finding clues for nerve cell repair

A new study at the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University identifies a key mechanism for the normal development of motor nerve cells (motor neurons) - cells that control muscles. This finding is crucial to understanding and treating a range of conditions involving nerve cell loss or damage, from spinal cord injury to neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.

Nerve cell regeneration is a complex process. Not only do nerve cells have to regenerate, but just as importantly, their specific and individual connections need to be regenerated also. The study, published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides invaluable insight into these vital processes by understanding the mechanisms involved in normal development of selected types of spinal cord motor nerve cells.

Motor neurons are highly specialized. They have distinct characteristics and connect to specific muscle types in specific regions of the body. "These highly targeted nerve cell-to-muscle connections are determined in part by specific patterns of gene expression during embryonic development. More specifically, certain genes are expressed which tell the neuron what its properties will be, where to settle and which particular muscle to connect with," says Dr. Stefano Stifani, neuroscientist at the Montreal Neurological Institute and lead investigator in the study.

When nerve cells develop they require characteristic patterns of gene expression in order to become motor neurons or another type of nerve cell called interneurons. Dr. Stifani and colleagues show that during development, motor nerve cells have to express certain genes that continually suppress interneuron developmental characteristics.

"We have identified a key factor, called Runx1, which controls the correct development of motor neurons in the upper part of the spinal cord. Runx1, a factor that controls gene expression, helps motor neurons to maintain their status by regulating the expression of specific genes. In doing so, it might also help motor neurons find their target muscles."

Understanding the normal development and the highly specialized nature of nerve cells has important implications for understanding diseased or damaged nerve cells. For example, in ALS, the motor nerve cells that are involved in swallowing and controlling the tongue are often the first to degenerate. Knowing the specific patterns of gene expression of different motor nerve cells may help to explain why certain motor neurons are more susceptible to degeneration and help identify new targets for treatments.


Contact: Sandra McPherson
Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital

Related medicine news :

1. Many Parents Share Genetic Test Findings With Kids
2. New Alzheimers findings: High stress and genetic risk factor lead to increased memory decline
3. New MRI finding sheds light on multiple sclerosis disease progressio
4. High and mighty: first common height gene identified by researchers behind obesity gene finding
5. Scientists, physicians present latest findings in personalized cancer treatment and prevention
6. Health psychologists discuss latest research findings
7. Incidental findings found when radiologists take a broader look at renal MRA
8. First significant genetic finding in severe PMS, or PMDD
9. Chair of U.S. Preventive Services Task Force Pledges to Recommend Re-evaluation of Recent Glaucoma Findings
10. The Organic Trade Association Hails Preliminary Research Findings Showing Nutritional Benefits of Organic Products
11. Key findings for all veterans seen in depression and suicide study
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Charitable giving is at ... are made in the last five weeks of the year totalling over $358 billion ... 2012 to connect the nation’s charities with those individuals who want to “give back” ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... CA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... sizes, has launched their Black Friday sale a week early, offering 40% off ... to transform the intimate apparel industry through both mobile fit technology and the ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... author explored the different restrictions and variables that determine which patients are or are ... are those patients that have a BMI over 40, are more than 100 pounds ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Catalent ... for drugs, biologics, consumer health and global clinical supply services, today announced that ... Clinical Trial Supply East Asia Conference, to be held at the InterContinental Seoul ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... DMG Productions announced that they ... airing first quarter 2016 via Discovery Channel. Dates and show times TBA. , Aphria, ... is in the business of producing and supplying medical marijuana pursuant to the Marijuana ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... 2015  Thanks to a donor with a personal ... Center,s Sister Diane Grassilli Center for Women,s Health now ... San Francisco . Fred ... with a gift of $617,320 that allowed the Center ... Tomosynthesis and Whole Breast Ultrasound. Tomosynthesis, three-dimensional (3-D) mammography ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Natera, Inc. (Nasdaq: ... genetic testing and the analysis of circulating ... present at the 27 th  Annual Piper ... 2015 at 1:00 p.m. ET.  Matthew Rabinowitz, Ph.D., CEO of ... business activities and financial outlook. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Array BioPharma Inc. ... Chief Executive Officer, Ron Squarer , will ... in New York.  The public is welcome to ... the Array BioPharma website.Event:Piper Jaffray Annual Healthcare ConferencePresenter:  ... December 2, 2015Time:1:30 p.m. Eastern Time Webcast: ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: