Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Link Between Neuronal Calcium Channel, Mutated Gene That Causes Huntington's Disease Identified

Date:
July 17, 2003
Source:
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas
Summary:
Abnormally high calcium levels spurred on by a mutated gene may lead to the death of neurons associated with Huntington's disease, an inherited genetic disorder, characterized by mental and physical deterioration, for which there is no known cure.

DALLAS – July 17, 2003 – Abnormally high calcium levels spurred on by a mutated gene may lead to the death of neurons associated with Huntington's disease, an inherited genetic disorder, characterized by mental and physical deterioration, for which there is no known cure.

This discovery by researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, published in the current issue of Neuron, sheds new light on the process that causes the selective death of neurons in the region of the brain called the striatum. Neurons in this area control emotions, body movements and several other neurological processes, including addiction.

Since the discovery of the huntingtin gene (Htt) in 1993, researchers have been searching for what actually causes certain neurons to die in the striatum, leading to the disease.

"It had not been clear why in Huntington's only neurons in the striatum are affected," said Dr. Ilya Bezprozvanny, associate professor of physiology and senior author of the study. "We found that the mutant form of the huntingtin protein causes abnormally high calcium levels in neurons, which likely cause them to die.

"This is the first time that we have some idea about what the mutant huntingtin gene does to kill striatum neurons and opens potentially new areas for treatment of the disease."

Calcium triggers the release of neurotransmitter signals, a process that initiates communication between neurons in the brain. But too much calcium, Dr. Bezprozvanny said, kills neurons.

Researchers hope the discovery leads to the development of drugs to block the activation of a receptor linked to calcium signaling in striatal neurons, thus potentially slowing the progression of Huntington's, Dr. Bezprozvanny said. Currently, transgenic mouse models that express the human mutant form of the Htt are being studied.

"We are going to move from biochemical and cellular studies to studies in transgenic mice to test our hypothesis," he said.

Other UT Southwestern researchers involved in the study include Dr. Anton Maximov, instructor in the Center for Basic Neuroscience; Dr. Tie-Shan Tang, a postdoctoral researcher in physiology and lead author of the study; Dr. Huiping Tu, a postdoctoral researcher in physiology; and Dr. Zhengnan Wang, research associate in physiology. Researchers at the University of British Columbia also contributed.

The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Welch Foundation, the Huntington's Disease Society of America and the Hereditary Disease Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "Link Between Neuronal Calcium Channel, Mutated Gene That Causes Huntington's Disease Identified." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030717090701.htm>.
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. (2003, July 17). Link Between Neuronal Calcium Channel, Mutated Gene That Causes Huntington's Disease Identified. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030717090701.htm
University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center At Dallas. "Link Between Neuronal Calcium Channel, Mutated Gene That Causes Huntington's Disease Identified." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/07/030717090701.htm (accessed August 30, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

Treadmill 'trips' May Reduce Falls for Elderly

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) Scientists are tripping the elderly on purpose in a Chicago lab in an effort to better prevent seniors from falling and injuring themselves in real life. (Aug.28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) It’s an unusual condition with a colorful name. Kids with “Alice in Wonderland” syndrome see sudden distortions in objects they’re looking at or their own bodies appear to change size, a lot like the main character in the Lewis Carroll story. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Stopping Schizophrenia Before Birth

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Scientists have long called choline a “brain booster” essential for human development. Not only does it aid in memory and learning, researchers now believe choline could help prevent mental illness. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Personalized Brain Vaccine for Glioblastoma

Ivanhoe (Aug. 27, 2014) Glioblastoma is the most common and aggressive brain cancer in humans. Now a new treatment using the patient’s own tumor could help slow down its progression and help patients live longer. Video provided by Ivanhoe
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