Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Alternative Way To Save Brain Cells After Stroke Or Head Trauma, New Finding Suggests

Date:
January 6, 2009
Source:
Rockefeller University Press
Summary:
Shredded extracellular matrix is toxic to neurons. Researchers reveal a new mechanism for how ECM demolition causes brain damage. The study suggests that drugs that block KA1, one subunit of the kainate receptor, might provide an alternative way to save brain cells after stroke or head trauma.

Shredded extracellular matrix (ECM) is toxic to neurons. Researchers, Chen et al., reveal a new mechanism for how ECM demolition causes brain damage.

A stroke or head injury kills large numbers of neurons through a process called excitotoxicity. A surge of the neurotransmitter glutamate jolts receptors such as the kainate receptor and stimulates cell death. Enzymes add to the death toll by chopping up ECM near the injury site. How ECM breakdown takes out neurons was mysterious. The standard view was that neurons perished because they got separated from the ECM as it dissolved.

Chen et al. found otherwise when they engineered mice to lack the ECM component laminin in the hippocampus, a brain region often damaged by stroke or injury. If cells languished after parting from the ECM, the researchers reasoned that mice missing laminin would suffer more damage from excitotoxicity. But when excitotoxicity was spurred with an injection of kainate—a molecule that, like glutamate, activates the kainate receptor—the laminin-lacking mice showed less brain damage. After a dose of diced laminin, however, the mutant mice were vulnerable to kainate, indicating that the fragments are the culprit in cell death.

The researchers discovered that chopped-up ECM kills cells by ramping up production of one subunit of the kainate receptor, known as KA1. They speculate that hiking the amount of KA1 subunits might make the receptor more sensitive and thus more likely to trigger an overreaction by the cell.

Although drugs that obstruct the glutamate receptor slow brain cell death, they can lead to serious cognitive impairment and even coma. The study suggests that drugs that block KA1 might provide an alternative way to save brain cells after stroke or head trauma.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Chen, Z.-L., et al. Proteolytic fragments of laminin promote excitotoxic neurodegeneration by up-regulation of the KA1 subunit of the kainate receptor. J. Cell Biol., 2008; DOI: 10.1083/jcb.200803107

Cite This Page:

Rockefeller University Press. "Alternative Way To Save Brain Cells After Stroke Or Head Trauma, New Finding Suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229104458.htm>.
Rockefeller University Press. (2009, January 6). Alternative Way To Save Brain Cells After Stroke Or Head Trauma, New Finding Suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229104458.htm
Rockefeller University Press. "Alternative Way To Save Brain Cells After Stroke Or Head Trauma, New Finding Suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/12/081229104458.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 1, 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