Navigation Links
New form of brain plasticity: Study shows how social isolation disrupts myelin production
Date:11/11/2012

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Animals that are socially isolated for prolonged periods make less myelin in the region of the brain responsible for complex emotional and cognitive behavior, researchers at the University at Buffalo and Mt. Sinai School of Medicine report in Nature Neuroscience online.

The research sheds new light on brain plasticity, the brain's ability to adapt to environmental changes. It reveals that neurons aren't the only brain structures that undergo changes in response to an individual's environment and experience, according to one of the paper's lead authors, Karen Dietz, PhD, research scientist in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Dietz did the work while a postdoctoral researcher at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine; Jia Liu, PhD, a Mt. Sinai postdoctoral researcher, is the other lead author.

The paper notes that changes in the brain's white matter, or myelin, have been seen before in psychiatric disorders, and demyelinating disorders have also had an association with depression. Recently, myelin changes were also seen in very young animals or adolescents responding to environmental changes.

"This research reveals for the first time a role for myelin in adult psychiatric disorders," Dietz says. "It demonstrates that plasticity in the brain is not restricted to neurons, but actively occurs in glial cells, such as the oligodendrocytes, which produce myelin."

Myelin is the crucial fatty material that wraps the axons of neurons and allows them to signal effectively. Normal nerve function is lost in demyelinating disorders, such as MS and the rare, fatal, childhood disease, Krabbe's disease. T

his paper reveals that the stress of social isolation disrupts the sequence in which the myelin-making cells, the oligodendrocytes, are formed. In the experiment, adult mice, normally social animals, were isolated for eight weeks to induce a depressive-like state. They were then introduced to a "novel" mouse, one they hadn't seen before; while mice are normally highly motivated to be social, those who had been socially isolated did not show any interest in interacting with the new mouse, a model of social avoidance and withdrawal.

Brain tissue analysis of the socially isolated animals revealed significantly lower than normal levels of gene transcription for oligodendrocyte cells in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region responsible for emotional and cognitive behavior.

"This research provides the first explanation of the mechanism behind how this brain plasticity occurs," says Dietz, "showing how this change in the level of social interaction of the adult animal resulted in changes in oligodendrocytes."

The key change was that cellular nuclei in the prefrontal cortex contained less heterochromatin, a tightly packed form of DNA material, which is unavailable for gene expression.

"This process of DNA compaction is what signifies that the oligodendrocytes have matured, allowing them to produce normal amounts of myelin," says Dietz. "We have observed in socially isolated animals that there isn't as much compaction, and the oligodendrocytes look more immature. As adults age, normally, you would see more compaction, but when social isolation interferes, there's less compaction and therefore, less myelin being made."

She adds, however, that the research also showed that myelin production went back to normal after a period of social integration, suggesting that environmental intervention was sufficient to reverse the negative consequences of adult social isolation.

The new paper, together with a report published earlier this year by another group showing myelin changes triggered by social isolation early in life will broaden investigations into brain plasticity, says David Dietz, PhD, one of the paper's co-authors, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at UB.

In addition, adds Karen Dietz, the work has implications for future questions regarding MS and other myelin disorders. "This research suggests that maybe recovery from an MS episode might be enhanced by social interaction," she says. "This opens another avenue of investigation of how mood and myelin disorders may interact with one another."


'/>"/>

Contact: Ellen Goldbaum
goldbaum@buffalo.edu
716-645-4605
University at Buffalo
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Study Suggests Vaccine May Help Kids With Brain Cancer
2. Epilepsy Leads to More Brain Abnormalities Over Time
3. UCLA Brain Injury Research Center gets NCAA funding for research on sports concussions
4. Why is traumatic brain injury increasing among the elderly?
5. Brain Falters Near End of Life, but Games, Puzzles Might Slow Decline
6. Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors
7. Nonsurgical Method to Measure Brain Pressure Shows Promise
8. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
9. Football-related catastrophic brain injuries on the rise
10. Brain Tumor Vaccine Shows Promise in Early Trial
11. Brain Surgery Might Ease Tough-to-Treat OCD
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Experts ... applications at AcademyHealth’s Annual Research Meeting June 26-28, 2016, at the Hynes Convention ... health care topics including advance care planning, healthcare costs and patient and family ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, FCPX users can ... CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms over 1,300 hand-drawn ... X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above media or text ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Dr. Calvin Johnson has ... he has implemented orthobiologic procedures as a method for treating his patients. The ... first doctors to perform the treatment. Orthobiologics are substances that orthopaedic surgeons use ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... A recent article published June 14 on E Online ... on to state that individuals are now more comfortable seeking to undergo not only ... calf and cheek reduction. The Los Angeles area medical group, Beverly Hills Physicians (BHP) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone ... physically. , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If ... at my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... the "Surgical Procedure Volumes: Global Analysis (United States, ... Australia, Canada)" report to their offering. ... an essential tool for healthcare business planners, provides surgical ... looks at surgery trends with an in-depth analysis of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016 ... but it continues to present great opportunities to investors. ... for today: Intrexon Corp. (NYSE: XON ), ... Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ARNA ), and Regeneron ... about these stocks and receive your complimentary trade alerts ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Leading BioSciences Inc., a ... conditions resulting from a breakdown of the mucosal ... Greg Doyle as chief executive officer. Mr. ... management team and board of directors, previously served ... He will provide continued leadership and strategic direction ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: