Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Potential way to protect neurons in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS

Date:
March 14, 2011
Source:
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
Summary:
Neurons lacking a substance called caspase-2 were better able to withstand pesticide-induced damage to energy centers known as mitochondria, scientists have reported. This finding could have implications for development of therapeutics for conditions such as Parkinson's disease.

This is an illustration of a healthy neuron. A UT Health Science Center San Antonio study found a protective mechanism for neurons placed under mitochondrial stress.
Credit: Image courtesy of the NIH/National Institute on Aging.

Cell biologists pondering the death of neurons -- brain cells -- have now shown that by eliminating one ingredient from the cellular machinery, they prolonged the life of neurons stressed by a pesticide chemical. The finding identifies a potential therapeutic target to slow changes that lead to neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases.

Related Articles


The researchers, from The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, found that neurons lacking a substance called caspase-2 were better able to withstand pesticide-induced damage to energy centers known as mitochondria.

Master switch

Caspase-2 appears to be a master switch that can trigger either cell death or survival depending on the amount of cellular damage, the team found. Neurons that lacked caspase-2 showed an increase in protective activities, including the efficient breakdown of obsolete or used proteins. This process, called autophagy, delays cell death.

"This research shows, for the first time, that in the absence of caspase-2 neurons increase autophagy to survive," said study co-author Marisa Lopez-Cruzan, Ph.D., investigator in the cellular and structural biology department at the Health Science Center.

Role of energy centers

Evidence suggests that mitochondrial dysfunction plays an important role in neuronal death in conditions such as Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease) and Huntington's disease.

"Identifying initiators in the cell death process is important for determining therapeutic approaches to provide the maximum protection of neurons during neurodegenerative conditions," said senior author Brian Herman, Ph.D., vice president for research and professor of cellular and structural biology at the Health Science Center.

Young adult mice

The team studied neurons from young adult mice. This was intended to model the early changes that take place in neurodegenerative diseases.

The research is in the March 11 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Dr. Lopez-Cruzan, director of Dr. Herman's laboratory, came up with the idea that caspase-2 protects cells from mitochondrial stress. Meenakshi Tiwari, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellow, expanded upon the initial work and is first author of the paper.

The work was supported by the National Institute on Aging and is part of a second National Institutes of Health MERIT award to Dr. Herman.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Tiwari, M. Lopez-Cruzan, W. W. Morgan, B. Herman. Loss of Caspase-2-dependent Apoptosis Induces Autophagy after Mitochondrial Oxidative Stress in Primary Cultures of Young Adult Cortical Neurons. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011; 286 (10): 8493 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.163824

Cite This Page:

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Potential way to protect neurons in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311121846.htm>.
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. (2011, March 14). Potential way to protect neurons in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311121846.htm
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. "Potential way to protect neurons in Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, ALS." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110311121846.htm (accessed October 26, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

Texas Nurse Nina Pham Cured of Ebola

AFP (Oct. 25, 2014) — An American nurse who contracted Ebola while caring for a Liberian patient in Texas has been declared free of the virus and will leave the hospital. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Toxin-Packed Stem Cells Used To Kill Cancer

Newsy (Oct. 25, 2014) — A Harvard University Research Team created genetically engineered stem cells that are able to kill cancer cells, while leaving other cells unharmed. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) — IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) — A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
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