Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New nanoscale imaging may lead to new treatments for multiple sclerosis

Date:
May 27, 2011
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
Laboratory studies by chemical engineers may lead to new experimental methods for early detection and diagnosis -- and to possible treatments -- for pathological tissues that are precursors to multiple sclerosis and similar diseases.

These are fluorescence images of lipid domains in model (laboratory reconstituted) myelin monolayers showing coexistence of liquid-ordered (dark) and liquid-disordered (pseudo-colored) phases. Depending on the conditions (e.g., liquid-disordered (pseudo-colored) phases. Depending on the conditions (e.g., lipid composition, surface pressure, temperature), the lipid domains can exist in various shapes including striped (left) and circular (right).
Credit: Images courtesy of Younjin Min, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Laboratory studies by chemical engineers at UC Santa Barbara may lead to new experimental methods for early detection and diagnosis -- and to possible treatments -- for pathological tissues that are precursors to multiple sclerosis and similar diseases.

Related Articles


Achieving a new method of nanoscopic imaging, the scientific team studied the myelin sheath, the membrane surrounding nerves that is compromised in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The study is published in this week's online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

"Myelin membranes are a class of biological membranes that are only two molecules thick, less than one millionth of a millimeter," said Jacob Israelachvili, one of the senior authors and professor of chemical engineering and of materials at UCSB. "The membranes wrap around the nerve axons to form the myelin sheath."

He explained that the way different parts of the central nervous system, including the brain, communicate with each other throughout the body is via the transmission of electric impulses, or signals, along the fibrous myelin sheaths. The sheaths act like electric cables or transmission lines.

"Defects in the molecular or structural organization of myelin membranes lead to reduced transmission efficiency," said Israelachvilli. "This results in various sensory and motor disorders or disabilities, and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis."

At the microscopic level and the macroscopic level, which is visible to the eye, MS is characterized by the appearance of lesions or vacuoles in the myelin, and eventually results in the complete disintegration of the myelin sheath. This progressive disintegration is called demyelination.

The researchers focused on what happens at the molecular level, commonly referred to as the nanoscopic level. This requires highly sensitive visualization and characterization techniques.

The article describes fluorescence imaging and other measurements of domains, which are small heterogeneous clusters of lipid molecules -- the main constituents of myelin membranes -- that are likely to be responsible for the formation of lesions. They did this using model molecular layers in compositions that mimic both healthy and diseased myelin membranes.

They observed differences in the appearance, size, and sensitivity to pressure, of domains in the healthy and diseased monolayers. Next, they developed a theoretical model, in terms of certain molecular properties, that appears to account quantitatively for their observations.

"The discovery and characterization of micron-sized domains that are different in healthy and diseased lipid assemblies have important implications for the way these membranes interact with each other," said Israelachvili. "And this leads to new understanding of demyelination at the molecular level."

The findings pave the way for new experimental methods for early detection, diagnosis, staging, and possible treatment of pathological tissues that are precursors to MS and other membrane-associated diseases, according to the authors.

All of the work reported in the paper was completed at UCSB, although some of the authors have moved to other institutions. In addition to Israelachvili, the other authors are Dong Woog Lee, graduate student in UCSB's Department of Chemical Engineering; Younjin Min, now a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Engineering; Prajnaparamitra Dhar, now assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Kansas; Arun Ramachandran, now assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry at the University of Toronto; and Joseph A. Zasadzinski, now professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Dong Woog Lee, Younjin Min, Prajnaparamitra Dhar, Arun Ramachandran, Jacob N. Israelachvili and Joseph A. Zasadzinski. Relating domain size distribution to line tension and molecular dipole density in model cytoplasmic myelin lipid monolayers. PNAS, May 23, 2011 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1106368108

Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "New nanoscale imaging may lead to new treatments for multiple sclerosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523152348.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2011, May 27). New nanoscale imaging may lead to new treatments for multiple sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523152348.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "New nanoscale imaging may lead to new treatments for multiple sclerosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110523152348.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
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