Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New insight into fatal spinal disease

Date:
September 26, 2011
Source:
University of Missouri-Columbia
Summary:
Researchers have identified a communication breakdown between nerves and muscles in mice that may provide new insight into the debilitating and fatal human disease known as spinal muscular atrophy.

Researchers at the University of Missouri have identified a communication breakdown between nerves and muscles in mice that may provide new insight into the debilitating and fatal human disease known as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

"Critical communication occurs at the point where nerves and muscles 'talk' to each other. When this communication between nerves and muscles is disrupted, muscles do not work properly," said Michael Garcia, associate professor of biological sciences in the College of Arts and Science and the Bond Life Sciences Center. "In this study, we found that delivery of 'the words' a nerve uses to communicate with muscles was disrupted before they arrived at the nerve ending."

This would be similar to the idea of someone opening their mouth to talk, but nothing comes out. The words are not there to come out, so no communication is transmitted to the other person.

SMA is caused by a protein deficiency present in all cells, including motor neurons. According to Garcia, this discovery also may shed light on other diseases involving motor neurons, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease), and dysfunctions of the synapses, such as Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.

SMA is characterized by progressive weakness and degeneration of skeletal muscles. While a person's intellect is unaffected, this progressive disease slowly robs the body of its ability to walk, stand, sit, and eventually move at all. Currently, no cure or effective treatment exists for SMA.

"Moving involves an intricate system of communication between the brain, peripheral nerves, and muscles," Garcia said. "Motor neurons facilitate this communication through a complex series of chemical signals. If the communication system breaks down, the motor neuron will stop working and muscle activity ceases. By learning where the system breaks down, perhaps we can target treatments that prevent the break down in the system."

Results from this study are reported in the September 2011 issue of ACTA Neuropathology in a paper titled, "The spinal muscular atrophy mouse model, SMAD7, displays altered axonal transport without global neurofilament alterations."

Garcia co-authored the report with Jeffrey M. Dale, Devin M. Barry, Virginia Garcia, Ferrill Rose, Jr. and Christian Lorson, all from the University of Missouri.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Jeffrey M. Dale, Hailian Shen, Devin M. Barry, Virginia B. Garcia, Ferrill F. Rose, Christian L. Lorson, Michael L. Garcia. The spinal muscular atrophy mouse model, SMAΔ7, displays altered axonal transport without global neurofilament alterations. Acta Neuropathologica, 2011; 122 (3): 331 DOI: 10.1007/s00401-011-0848-5

Cite This Page:

University of Missouri-Columbia. "New insight into fatal spinal disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926151739.htm>.
University of Missouri-Columbia. (2011, September 26). New insight into fatal spinal disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926151739.htm
University of Missouri-Columbia. "New insight into fatal spinal disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110926151739.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. 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