Navigation Links
Electrical Activity Alters Language Used By Nerve Cells

University of California, San Diego biologists have shown that the chemical language with which neurons communicate depends on the pattern //of electrical activity in the developing nervous system. The findings suggest that modification of nerve activity could have potential as a treatment for a wide range of brain disorders.

In the study, published this week in the early on-line edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the biologists showed that, contrary to the prevailing viewpoint, neurotransmitters—the chemical language of nerve cells—and receptors—the proteins that receive and respond to neurotransmitters—are not specified by a rigid genetic program. Altering nerve activity during development determines the “mother tongue” nerve cells use to communicate.

“Most cognitive disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and Parkinson’s disease, involve problems with neurotransmitters or neurotransmitter receptors,” said Nicholas Spitzer, a professor of biology and the senior author of the study. “If modifying electrical activity in the adult brain can alter neurotransmitters and receptors similarly to the way we have discovered in the developing frog nervous system, it could provide a promising approach to treating these disorders.”

In vertebrates including frogs and humans, nerves communicate with muscles by releasing a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Spitzer and Laura Borodinsky, who was an assistant project scientist working with Spitzer when she performed the research, wanted to know if genetics is the only factor responsible for the selection of acetylcholine as the language used in nerve to muscle communication, or if other factors could play a role.

To find out, the researchers used drugs to increase and decrease the electrical activity in nerve cells of frog embryos. These changes in activity changed the identity of the neurotransmitter produced by the nerve cells. Because th e new chemical language being used by the nerves would not be detected if the muscles continued to produce only acetylcholine receptors, Spitzer and Borodinsky also looked for changes in the muscle cells’ transmitter receptors.

They discovered that, unlike in adult muscle, very early in development the muscle cells actually make multiple types of receptors, not just acetylcholine receptors. Remarkably, neurotransmitter receptors on the muscle cells are selected to match the neurotransmitter being produced by the nerve cells when early activity is perturbed.

“Our discovery, that developing muscle cells express several different types of neurotransmitter receptors, is surprising,” said Borodinsky, who is now an assistant professor of physiology at the U.C. Davis School of Medicine. “The vertebrate neuromuscular junction has been very well studied, and it has long been thought that acetylcholine was the only neurotransmitter used there.

“Sometimes people studying development can be misled by knowing how things work in an adult animal,” she added. “You have so much information about the end point that you may not open your eyes to what happens early on.”

The results show that the development of communication between nerves and muscles is flexible. Rather than a genetic program specifying that acetylcholine will be the language of communication, it is one of several languages that nerve cells are capable of using. Similarly, muscle cells have the potential to understand several languages. During development, the level of electrical activity in nerve cells determines which of many possible neurotransmitter languages will be used.

“It may seem wasteful to start with multiple types of receptors, and then eliminate the ones that aren’t needed,” commented Spitzer. “But it provides organisms with the ability to adapt to the environmental conditions in which they are living.”

The researchers are not certa in if the adult human brain will retain this same flexibility, but experimental treatments involving electrical stimulation of the brain are being used by other researchers in clinical practice. Spitzer thinks this study provides useful information for the researchers developing these therapies.

“Our research provides new insight about a way in which electrical stimulation affects communication in the nervous system,” explained Spitzer. “If electrical stimulation shows promise as a treatment, understanding the mechanism by which it works should make it possible to be much more selective about how and where to stimulate the brain.”Source-Newswise

Related medicine news :

1. Restricted Activity Predicts Disability
2. Do Asthma Sufferers Lack Physical Activity?
3. Midlife Brain Activity a Predictor Of Alzheimer’s Diseas
4. Asthma Sufferers Lacking Physical Activity
5. Activity Found To Improve Sleep In The Elderly
6. Physical Activity Good For Developing Cognitive Skills
7. The Consequences Of Stopping Physical Activity
8. Physical Activity During Leisure Can Reduce Risk Of Stroke
9. Gene Activity connected to Schizophrenia
10. New Technique To Detect Activity Of Drugs In The Body
11. Women With Anorexia Have Altered Brain Activity
Post Your Comments:

(Date:11/29/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Effective immediately, every single IguanaMed scrub style will be available ... is offering a “Buy One Scrub Set, Get the 2nd Scrub Set 50% Off” ... at a discounted price. , IguanaMed’s mission is to outfit every healer ...
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... Beginning November 30th at 6:00 a.m. EST until 11:59 p.m. ... , With possible savings of up to 20% off orders $80 or more to free ... website every few hours. , As a competitive e-commerce website for skin care and cosmetic ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... 2015 , ... According to an article published November 15th by ... handling security in light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, other cities are ... an attack from reaching U.S. soil. Especially around special events that may be high-profile ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Lizzie’s Lice Pickers just announced a ... customers 10% off of their purchase of lice treatment product. In addition, customers will ... to a company spokesperson. “Finding lice is a sure way to ruin the holidays, ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Intellitec Solutions announced today ... Group (MSDSLUG). Recognized as Microsoft’s official group for end users of Dynamics SL ... users, partners, industry experts and representatives. Intellitec Solutions’ membership status demonstrates their ongoing ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... addition of the "2016 Future Horizons ... of Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country ... report to their offering. --> ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... 2015 ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ... Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, ... --> ) has announced ... Horizons and Growth Strategies in the German ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 26, 2015 Research ... of the "Advanced Wound Care Market by Type ... Ulcers), End User (In-Patient Facility, Out-Patient Facility), and Geography ... offering. --> --> ... the description, definition and forecast of the global advanced ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: