Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Uric Acid And Spinal Cord Injury Treatment: Novel Approach Holds Potential For Inhibiting Central Nervous System Damage

Date:
January 5, 2007
Source:
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey
Summary:
Uric acid is commonly associated with the excruciatingly painful joint disease known as gout, but it can also play a crucial role in the treatment of spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

Uric acid is commonly associated with the excruciatingly painful joint disease known as gout, but it can also play a crucial role in the treatment of spinal cord injury and other central nervous system disorders, such as stroke, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, according to Rutgers' Bonnie Firestein.

Firestein, an associate professor of cell biology and neuroscience at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and her laboratory team have reported their discovery in the Early View (online in advance of print) version of the journal Glia.

"In spinal cord injury, as well as stroke, two kinds of damage can occur," Firestein explained. "First there is the physical damage, but this is followed by secondary chemical damage to neurons [nerve cells] by compounds released in response to the trauma. We have found that uric acid can promote an early intervention step in combating this chemical damage through its action on astroglial cells."

Astroglial cells or astrocytes are specialized cells that support neuron function with nutrients and protective buffering.

In addition to the scientific achievement, the research study is a model for student involvement and education. Among the co-authors, postdoctoral associate Yangzhou Du is teaching Firestein more about astroglial cells, while he is learning about neurons from her. Christopher Chen was a Henry Rutgers Honors undergraduate student on the study, and Yuval Eisenberg, a laboratory technician; both now attend medical school. Another student, Chia-Yi Tseng is continuing her graduate studies in Firestein's laboratory.

Uric acid's effects on the health of neurons had been observed by other researchers, but the mechanics of how it confers protection has remained a mystery.

"It is interesting to note that people with gout never seem to develop multiple sclerosis," Firestein said. "In animal models of multiple sclerosis, the addition of uric acid reduces symptoms and improves prognosis. The same is true for one type of Parkinson's disease tested."

The Firestein team's breakthrough studies revealed that uric acid can stimulate astroglial cells to produce transporter proteins that carry harmful compounds away from neurons in jeopardy of chemical damage. This opens the door to identifying a unique drug target for new therapies.

Glutamate is a compound that under normal circumstances aids neurons in transmitting signals for cognitive functions in the brain, such as learning and memory. In the case of spinal cord injury or stroke where there is physical cell damage, however, an excess of glutamate is released and it accumulates around the remaining intact neurons, eventually choking them to death.

When Firestein's group added uric acid to a mixed culture of rat spinal cord neurons and astroglial cells, the production of the glutamate transporter EAAT-1 increased markedly. The challenge now is find the most effective strategy for increasing the production of the transporter, using drug therapies or other means.

Firestein said that a collaborative team of colleagues from Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Rochester Medical Center has devised one such strategy. With this team, Firestein will develop a line of stem cells that has been modified to generate astrocytes that produce large quantities of the EAAT-1 transporter. Adding these to an injury site, either alone or in combination with uric acid, holds great potential, she said.

The study was supported by a grant from the New Jersey Commission on Spinal Cord Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. "Uric Acid And Spinal Cord Injury Treatment: Novel Approach Holds Potential For Inhibiting Central Nervous System Damage." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 January 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070103201438.htm>.
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. (2007, January 5). Uric Acid And Spinal Cord Injury Treatment: Novel Approach Holds Potential For Inhibiting Central Nervous System Damage. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070103201438.htm
Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. "Uric Acid And Spinal Cord Injury Treatment: Novel Approach Holds Potential For Inhibiting Central Nervous System Damage." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/01/070103201438.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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