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 November 23, 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 November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

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