Navigation Links
Light-activated Compound May Be of Help for Epileptics in Future

Brain activity has been compared to a light bulb turning on in the head. Scientists have reversed this notion, creating a drug that stops brain activity// when a light shines on it.

The unexpected result, reported online in Nature Neuroscience, turned several lights on in researchers' heads.

"This is daydreaming at this point, but we might one day combine this drug with a small implanted light to stop seizures," says senior author Steven Mennerick, Ph.D. associate professor of psychiatry and of anatomy and neurobiology. "Some current experimental epilepsy treatments involve the implanting of an electrode, so why not a light?"

The new compound activates the same receptor used by many anesthetics and tranquilizers, making it harder for a brain cell to respond to stimulation. Mennerick and his colleagues tested the drug on cells in culture set up to behave like they were involved in a seizure, with the cells rapidly and repeatedly firing. When they added the new drug and shone a light on the cells, the seizure-like firing pattern calmed.

If the drug is adapted for epilepsy, Mennerick notes, it is most likely to help in cases where seizures consistently originate from the same brain region.

Theoretically, doctors could keep a patient on regular doses of the new drug and implant a small fiber optic light in the dysfunctional region. The light would activate the drug only when seizure-like firing patterns started to appear.

Scientists in the laboratory of Douglas F. Covey, Ph.D., professor of molecular biology and pharmacology, created the drug by linking a steroid known to have anesthetic effects with a molecule, known as NBD, that fluoresces in response to blue light. Mennerick and colleagues were hoping to use the new compound, which they call the NBD-steroid, to trace the steroid's path in the nervous system.

To their initial disappointment, the researchers found that adding the fluore scent tag to the steroid had disabled it.

"Normally, the steroid keeps the cell quiet in the face of stimuli that would otherwise cause it to fire," Mennerick says. "That's why drugs like barbiturates and Valium, which act on the same receptor as the steroid, are sedatives—they quiet the nerve system down."

When dosed with NBD-steroid, nerve cells still responded to stimuli as readily as they had prior to exposure. Just to see where the modified steroid was going, though, researchers exposed the cells to light.

"All of a sudden, the response to the steroid was back, and the nerve cells were more reluctant to react to stimuli," Mennerick says. "And we knew we had found something very interesting."

To confirm what was happening, scientists dosed two of a nerve cell's many different branches with NBD-steroid. When they shone a light on one of the branches, its readiness to respond decreased, while the readiness of the branch not exposed to light remained the same.

Department of Anesthesiology colleagues tested the compound's effects on tadpoles.

"Tadpoles rapidly take up drugs through their skin, so they're frequently used to test potential anesthetics," Mennerick notes. "And of course, given that it's a photoactive drug, they make a nice test subject because they're mostly translucent."

Tadpoles swimming in a solution of NBD-steroid went to sleep at the bottom of their beaker when exposed to light.

Mennerick and his colleagues are currently seeking to identify or create an animal model of epilepsy that lets them test the NBD-steroid's potential as a therapeutic. They are also looking for a new fluorescent tag that responds to longer wavelengths of light. Unlike many photoactive compounds, the NBD-steroid responds not to ultraviolet light but to light from the blue region of the electromagnetic spectrum. This helps because the longer wavelengths of blue light penetrate far ther into tissue than ultraviolet light and are less damaging to it.

Molecules that fluoresce in response to even longer wavelengths of light are available, and scientists are testing whether any of them can create the same effect when bound to the steroid.

Source-Newswise
SRM
'"/>




Related medicine news :

1. Compound of Broccoli combats breast cancer
2. New Compound Could Strengthen The Effect Of Chemotherapy
3. Breathing Cancer Causing Compounds During Pregnancy Found To Affect Offspring
4. Compound from cottonseed for neck and head cancers
5. Compounds Found In The Vegetable Broccoli Could Have Anti-Cancer Properties
6. Adding Sorghum Compounds To Dietary Supplements May Help Lower Cholesterol
7. Compound In Grapes And Red Wine To Counter Alzheimers Disease
8. Sugars Could Contain Key Cancer Inhibiting Compounds
9. Compound From Cyanobacterium Can Fight Alzheimer’
10. Five New Anti-Inflammatory Compounds Produced By Indian Scientists
11. Compounds in Licorice Can Fight Tooth Decay
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:2/8/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... ... networking and relationship-marketing firm, announced today that nominations will be accepted February ... (ISE®) West Awards. , Awards include the Information Security Executive® of ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... 08, 2016 , ... GrassrootsHealth published data from its D*action ... diabetes in the GrassrootsHealth cohort with substantially higher vitamin D levels than a ... health,” states Carole Baggerly, Director of GrassrootsHealth, “the safety and benefits of ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... ... 08, 2016 , ... The schedule is now online for the ... Conference, which is being held May 25-29 at the Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, continues ... and causes of chronic illness in children. , Very recent articles have cited 1 ...
(Date:2/7/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Dr. Todd Hobgood , certificated in ... surgical expertise. Technically known as deoxycholic acid or previously as ATX-101, Kybella® ... for reduction of fat below the chin (aka the “double chin”). Medication side ...
(Date:2/6/2016)... ... 06, 2016 , ... Research has shown that building shame ... frequency and level of relapse. , At the 2016 iaedp Symposium, ... explore the critical tasks of the recovery phase and beyond including relapse prevention ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/8/2016)... , February 8, 2016 ... report published by Allied Market Research titled, "World ... and Forecasts, 2014-2020", estimates the world synthetic biology ... synthesis and sequencing technology segment would continue to ... software tools segment, collectively, held around half of ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... N.C. , Feb. 5, 2016  Despite the ... been slower than other industries to embrace Big Data ... with utilization. On the medical side, organizations have begun ... everything from clinical trials to adherence. ... from benchmarking firm Best Practices, LLC, Big Data has ...
(Date:2/5/2016)... 5, 2016  Syneron Medical Ltd. (NASDAQ: ... announced today that William Griffing , Chief ... scheduled to participate in the Leerink Partners 5 ... 11, 2016 in New York City ... to meet with the Mr. Griffing and will ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: