Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New understanding of brain chemistry could prevent brain damage after injury

Date:
May 16, 2011
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
A protective molecule has been identified in the brain which, if used artificially, may prevent brain damage from the likes of stroke, head injury and Alzheimer's.

A protective molecule has been identified in the brain which, if used artificially, may prevent brain damage from the likes of stroke, head injury and Alzheimer's.

By looking at what happens in the brain after an injury, new research has finally ended speculation over whether a key molecule, 'KCC2' causes brain cell death after an injury or prevents it. The finding, published in The Journal of Physiology now opens the door to the development of artificial forms of the compound which could provide 'neuroprotection' to those who have suffered a brain injury -- to prevent further damage.

Lead author of the research Dr Igor Medina from the Université de la Méditerranée said: "Neuron damage can result from acute events such as stroke, epilepsy or head injury or by chronic degeneration found in Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

"When brain tissue is damaged, cells often continue to die after the initial stimulus has stopped. So it is important to find a way of stopping this cascade of cell death."

KCC2 is known as a 'neuronal membrane transporter' and plays a valuable role in regulating brain cell growth and their connections with other neurons. Previous research has shown that the level of KCC2 drops drastically after the brain has been injured, but it was unknown whether this drop was causing the damage to the cells, or was decreasing because of it.

"The destiny of neurons in a damaged brain depends on a tiny equilibrium between pro-survival and pro-death signals. We wanted to know what KCC2 was signalling for -- was it killing neurons or protecting them after an injury? Our study has found that KCC2 actually rescues the damaged cells."

The team studied damaged neurons from the hippocampus region of the brain, an area responsible for attention, spatial memory and navigation. They removed KCC2 altogether from damaged cells and found they died. But when they artificially increased the levels of KCC2 (by stimulating its expression using gene therapy), they found the damaged cells were protected from further damage, and death.

Dr Medina continued: "The death of neurons in the brain can be triggered by an imbalance of oxygen -- known as oxidative damage, or where cells are incorrectly instructed to die by a neurotransmitter -- a process known as excitotoxicity. KCC2 protects against both. It's really encouraging that we have identified a means of potentially protecting the brain from these common conditions."

Now the protective function of KCC2 is known, scientists can look at ways to maintain its levels in the brains of injured patients and prevent the cascade of damage that occurs. This could be achieved pharmaceutically, to naturally increase the levels of KCC2, or with gene therapy to introduce artificial KCC2.

"Neuroprotective agents that may stem from this research would benefit the victims of car crashes, stroke and those suffering with epilepsy, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's -- it's a major focus for further studies," concluded Dr Medina.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Pellegrino, O. Gubkina, M. Schaefer, H. Becq, A. Ludwig, M. Mukhtarov, I. Chudotvorova, S. Corby, Y. Salyha, S. Salozhin, P. Bregestovski, I. Medina. Knocking down of the KCC2 in rat hippocampal neurons increases intracellular chloride concentration and compromises neuronal survival.. The Journal of Physiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.2010.203703

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "New understanding of brain chemistry could prevent brain damage after injury." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110515201318.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2011, May 16). New understanding of brain chemistry could prevent brain damage after injury. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110515201318.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "New understanding of brain chemistry could prevent brain damage after injury." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110515201318.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. 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