Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New 'Stars' In Formation Of Nerve Cell Insulation

Date:
March 21, 2006
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
The insulating myelin sheath enwrapping the cable-like axons of nerve cells is the major target of attack of the immune system in multiple sclerosis. Such attack causes neural short-circuits that give rise to the muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and speech and visual loss in the disease.

The insulating myelin sheath enwrapping the cable-like axons of nerve cells is the major target of attack of the immune system in multiple sclerosis. Such attack causes neural short-circuits that give rise to the muscle weakness, loss of coordination, and speech and visual loss in the disease.

Now, Douglas Fields of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and his colleagues have reported in Neuron that supporting cells called astrocytes in the central nervous system (CNS) promote myelination by releasing an immune system molecule that triggers myelin-forming cells to action. The finding, they say, "may offer new approaches to treating demyelinating diseases."

Astrocytes, so named because of their star-like shape, are the most prominent supporting cells in the nervous system. They provide critical regulatory molecules that enable nerve cells to develop and connect properly.

In their studies, Fields and his colleagues sought to understand other research findings indicating that the electrical activity of nerve cells somehow triggers myelin-producing cells, called oligodendrocytes, to form the myelin membrane surrounding the nerve cells.

In their studies, the researchers cultured rat and mice neurons together with oligodendrocytes and conducted experiments to understand the mechanism of myelin formation. They found that electrical stimulation of the neurons caused production of the energy molecule ATP, and this ATP increases myelination.

Drawing on other researchers' findings that an immune signaling molecule called leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) might be involved, they explored whether LIF was a key molecule in the ATP-triggered myelination machinery. Their experiments revealed LIF's central role in the machinery, and further studies showed that astrocytes were the source of that LIF.

Indeed, when they tested directly whether astrocytes were important in promoting myelination in the cell cultures, they found the cells to be potent promoters of the process.

"Taken together, these results reveal a new mechanism by which electrical activity promotes myelination of CNS axons at a later developmental stage and possibly into postnatal life," concluded the researcher. They wrote that the "new findings may provide novel approaches to understanding and treating myelin disorders in the CNS" after the immature oligodendrocytes have matured into myelinating cells.

The researchers include Tomoko Ishibashi, Kelly A. Dakin, Beth Stevens, Philip R. Lee, and R. Douglas Fields of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, MD; Serguei V. Kozlov and Colin L. Stewart of the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, MD. This work was supported by the intramural research program at National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Reference: Ishibashi et al.: "Astrocytes Promote Myelination in Response to Electrical Impulses." Publishing in Neuron 49, 823-832, March 16, 2006. DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2006.02.006


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cell Press. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "New 'Stars' In Formation Of Nerve Cell Insulation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060319183432.htm>.
Cell Press. (2006, March 21). New 'Stars' In Formation Of Nerve Cell Insulation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060319183432.htm
Cell Press. "New 'Stars' In Formation Of Nerve Cell Insulation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/03/060319183432.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Health Insurers' Profits Slide

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) Obamacare-related costs were said to be behind the profit plunge at Wellpoint and Humana, but Wellpoint sees the new exchanges boosting its earnings for the full year. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Generics Eat Into Pfizer's Sales

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 29, 2014) Pfizer, the world's largest drug maker, cut full-year revenue forecasts because generics could cut into sales of its anti-arthritis drug, Celebrex. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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