Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular "Stop Signs" May Hold Secret Of Nerve Regeneration

Date:
June 20, 2002
Source:
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Summary:
Using brain cells from rats, scientists at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Hamburg have manipulated a molecular "stop sign" so that the injured nerve cells regenerate. While their findings are far from application in people, the prospects for eventually being able to repair spinal cord injury are brighter, they say.

Using brain cells from rats, scientists at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the University of Hamburg have manipulated a molecular "stop sign" so that the injured nerve cells regenerate. While their findings are far from application in people, the prospects for eventually being able to repair spinal cord injury are brighter, they say.

"Four thousand years ago, physicians wrote that spinal cord injury was untreatable, and unfortunately it's much the same today," says Ronald L. Schnaar, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology and of neuroscience at Hopkins. "But the basic-science framework for improving this situation is quickly emerging."

In adult mammals, including humans, molecular signals carefully control the number of contacts nerve cells make by inhibiting new connections. When the brain or spinal cord has been damaged, the goal is to neutralize those inhibitors so that the long tentacles of nerve cells, the axons, might reestablish their broken connections, says Schnaar.

The research team reports identifying brain chemicals that are involved in the ability of one of the inhibitors to prevent injured nerve cells from connecting to other nerves or muscles. By keeping the chemicals from interacting with the inhibitor, the researchers were able to stimulate damaged nerve cells to regenerate in laboratory dishes. Their report is in the June 11 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"In the central nervous system, once an axon is interrupted in some way, through disease or injury, generally it's stopped dead in its tracks, but in the rest of the body, damaged axons can re-grow," says Schnaar. "To make headway in treating brain and spinal cord injury, we need to attack this problem from a number of angles, and our studies have provided an additional target for intervention."

Of the "stop signs" identified so far, Schnaar's team focused on MAG, or myelin-associated glycoprotein, which is part of the myelin wrapping that insulates all nerve cells. Understanding how the newly identified molecules responsible for MAG's inhibitory effect -- called gangliosides -- interact with MAG to send the "stop" signal to the nerve may lead one day to potential treatments, say the scientists.

In their experiments with rat and mouse cells, Hopkins postdoctoral researcher Alka Vyas tested four ways of stopping MAG and the gangliosides from interacting: destroying part of the ganglioside where MAG usually attaches, limiting the amount of the gangliosides made by the cells, using antibodies to block MAG or using antibodies to block the gangliosides. The research team now is focused on determining exactly how the gangliosides and MAG work together to stop nerve regeneration.

The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Stollof Family Fund. Other authors on the report are Himatkumar Patel, Susan Fromholt, Marija Heffer-Lauc, Kavita Vyas and Jiyoung Dang of Johns Hopkins; and Melitta Schachner of the University of Hamburg, Germany.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Molecular "Stop Signs" May Hold Secret Of Nerve Regeneration." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 June 2002. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020620075014.htm>.
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. (2002, June 20). Molecular "Stop Signs" May Hold Secret Of Nerve Regeneration. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020620075014.htm
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. "Molecular "Stop Signs" May Hold Secret Of Nerve Regeneration." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2002/06/020620075014.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

How The 'Angelina Jolie Effect' Increased Cancer Screenings

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) Angelina's Jolie's decision to undergo a preventative mastectomy in 2013 inspired many women to seek early screenings for the disease. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins