Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

OHSU Researchers Discover Brain Cell Mechanism Possibly Linked To Mental Retardation

Date:
February 20, 2003
Source:
Oregon Health & Science University
Summary:
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have discovered a key cellular mechanism in the brain possibly involved in mental retardation. The research may be used to develop new drugs or therapies to combat the condition. The research, which was conducted in mice, also may provide scientists with an animal model for mental retardation that will be of use in future studies aimed at understanding and treating the human condition.

PORTLAND, Ore. – Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have discovered a key cellular mechanism in the brain possibly involved in mental retardation. The research may be used to develop new drugs or therapies to combat the condition. The research, which was conducted in mice, also may provide scientists with an animal model for mental retardation that will be of use in future studies aimed at understanding and treating the human condition.

Related Articles


The research, which is printed in the Feb. 18 edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, centers on a key protein called WAVE-1 that is found throughout the brain. Researchers at OHSU produced mice lacking the WAVE-1 protein. Following observation, these animals were found to have balance, motor, learning and memory deficits. These symptoms correlate with one form of mental retardation found in humans.

"WAVE-1 is a very important protein involved in brain cell communication," said researcher John Scott, Ph.D., an associate investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and a senior scientist in the OHSU Vollum Institute. "The protein acts like a scaffolding that supports the lines of communication between different parts of the cell."

Scott and other OHSU researchers believe the absence of the WAVE-1 protein causes a partial breakdown of the brain cell communication system, which results in reduced learning ability and other effects associated with mental retardation. While there are thought to be literally hundreds of causes for mental retardation, it's believed the breakdown of important cellular communication systems is involved in many, if not all, forms.

One major conclusion of the research is that mental retardation involves many more areas of the brain than first expected.

"The protein is found in a variety of regions of the brain, including the hippocampus and the cerebellum," explained Jacob Raber, Ph.D., an assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience and neurology in the OHSU School of Medicine. "Through studying mouse models, we hope to further understand and describe the roles of various brain regions in the important functions impaired by mental retardation."

The Raber lab's involvement in the project is a unique partnership between behavioral neuroscience and biochemistry experts.

"The Raber lab is literally across the hall from our lab," explained Scott. "The close proximity resulted in numerous conversations between the two labs and, finally, collaboration on this project."

Scott Soderling, Ph.D., a lead researcher on this project, also noted an unexpected trait found in mice lacking the WAVE-1 protein – reduced anxiety. Future studies conducted between the Scott and Raber labs will try to determine whether this trait is also found in humans with the corresponding form of mental retardation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon Health & Science University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon Health & Science University. "OHSU Researchers Discover Brain Cell Mechanism Possibly Linked To Mental Retardation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030220082446.htm>.
Oregon Health & Science University. (2003, February 20). OHSU Researchers Discover Brain Cell Mechanism Possibly Linked To Mental Retardation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030220082446.htm
Oregon Health & Science University. "OHSU Researchers Discover Brain Cell Mechanism Possibly Linked To Mental Retardation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/02/030220082446.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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