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Specific Protein is Instrumental in Myelination

Scientists at Childrens National Medical Center have demonstrated conclusively that a specific protein and its signaling activity are instrumental in myelination and remyelination, processes essential to the creation and repair of the brains white matter.

This groundbreaking discovery in mouse models points the way to developing treatments or interventions to enhance healthy brain development and/or brain disease repair in children and adults. The paper will be published in the August issue of Nature Neuroscience.

By understanding the fundamental mechanisms of brain development, we get closer to finding clear instructions to repairing developmental brain disorders and injuries, said Vittorio Gallo, PhD, Director, Center for Neuroscience Research, Childrens Research Institute at Childrens National Medical Center.

Dr. Gallo and colleagues study used mouse models to identify an essential protein and its signaling activity in the processes of myelination and remyelination. These processes are relevant to white matter development and repair.

When white matter is injured or defective, the essential functions of information relay are impaired. Underdeveloped white matter or white matter injuries are linked to conditions including mental retardation, cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis.

Childrens National Medical Center is the ideal environment for complex research, said Dr. Gallo. We work collaboratively with research institutes around the world, and then we walk down the hall to confer with colleagues who are on the front line of direct clinical care.

My colleagues in clinical research and care pioneered whole body cooling, which slows down brain damage underway in compromised newborns. Our breakthrough at the level of laboratory research will soon translate to the bedsides where they care for newborns.

If we can marry whole body cooling with new approaches that
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