Navigation Links
Stimulating brain cells with light
Date:10/26/2012

For the time being, this is basic research but the long term objective is to find new ways of treating Parkinson's disease. This increasingly common disease is caused by degeneration of the brain cells producing signal substance dopamine.

Many experiments have been conducted on both animals and humans, transplanting healthy nerve cells to make up for the lack of dopamine, but it is difficult to study what happens to the transplant.

"We don't know how the new nerve cells behave once they have been transplanted into the brain. Do they connect to the surrounding cells as they should, and can they function normally and produce dopamine as they should? Can we use light to reinforce dopamine production? These are the issues we want to investigate with optogenetics", says Professor Merab Kokaia.

Optogenetics allows scientists to control certain cells in the brain using light, leaving other cells unaffected. In order to do this, the relevant cells are equipped with genes for a special light-sensitive protein. The protein makes the cells react when they are illuminated with light from a thin optic fibre which is also implanted in the brain. The cells can then be "switched on" when they are illuminated.

"If we get signals as a response to light from the host brain, we know that they come from the transplanted cells since they are the only ones to carry the light-sensitive protein. This gives us a much more specific way of studying the brain's reactions than inserting an electrode, which is the current method.

With an electrode, we do not know whether the electric signals that are detected come from "new" or "old" brain cells", explains Merab Kokaia.

The work will be conducted on laboratory rats modelling Parkinson's disease. The transplanted cells will be derived from skin from an adult human and will have been "reprogrammed" as nerve cells.

Merab Kokaia will be collaborating with neuro-researchers Malin Parmar and Olle Lindvall on the project.

The three Lund researchers have received a grant of USD 75 000 from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, started by actor Michael J. Fox and dedicated to Parkinson's research.

The light-sensitive protein is obtained from a bacterium, which uses light to gain energy.

Since it is not a human protein, the safety checks will be extra strict if the method is to be used on humans.

"We know that this is long term research. But the methodology is interesting and it will be exciting to see what we can come up with," says Merab Kokaia.


'/>"/>
Contact: Merab Kokaia
merab.kokaia@med.lu.se
46-706-620-899
Lund University
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Mild increases in thyroid-stimulating hormone not harmful in the elderly
2. Study Suggests Vaccine May Help Kids With Brain Cancer
3. Epilepsy Leads to More Brain Abnormalities Over Time
4. UCLA Brain Injury Research Center gets NCAA funding for research on sports concussions
5. Why is traumatic brain injury increasing among the elderly?
6. Brain Falters Near End of Life, but Games, Puzzles Might Slow Decline
7. Dental X-Rays May Be Linked to Benign Brain Tumors
8. Nonsurgical Method to Measure Brain Pressure Shows Promise
9. Researchers Map Brain Regions Linked to Intelligence
10. Football-related catastrophic brain injuries on the rise
11. Brain Tumor Vaccine Shows Promise in Early Trial
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... ProVest ... the greater Dallas, Miami, and Raleigh regions, is organizing an extended charity drive ... rare and deadly chromosome abnormality. , After struggling since birth with several health ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... Pekin, IL (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 ... ... Foundation, which established the certification process to promote standards of excellence for the ... iaedp™ Symposium, scheduled for March 22 – 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Many families have long-term insurance that covers ... companies have a waiver for care if the client has a cognitive impairment diagnosis. ... pays for care, is often waived, so the benefits from their insurance start immediately,” ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... 13, 2017 , ... Talented host, actor Rob Lowe, is ... a new episode of "Success Files," which is an award-winning educational program broadcasted ... each subject in-depth with passion and integrity. , Sciatica occurs when the sciatic ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... are now treating sleep apnea using cutting-edge Oventus O2Vent technology. As ... serious sleep disorder characterized by frequent cessation in breathing. Oral appliances can offer ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... Divoti USA will engrave and process all non-coated stainless ... FDA requirements, which stipulates new criteria regarding medical device manufacture and ... ID jewelry such as Medical ID Bracelets, can rest assured that ... the new FDA requirements . ... Divoti offers this dark mark fiber laser engraving process with ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... -- Hill-Rom Holdings, Inc. ("Hill-Rom") (NYSE: HRC), today provided an ... Puerto Rico , where the company ... Following a comprehensive onsite assessment, ... damage, temporary loss of power and minimal water damage ... operations have resumed, and the company expects to return ...
(Date:10/4/2017)... Korea , Oct. 4, 2017  South Korean-based ... next-generation CPR training aide "cprCUBE" on Kickstarter. The device ... compression during cardiac arrests with better efficiency compared to ... also offers real-time feedback on efficacy of the compression ... crowdfunding campaign has a goal to raise $5,000. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: