Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Key to survival of brain cells discovered

Date:
September 29, 2011
Source:
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center
Summary:
Scientists have discovered how a key chemical neurotransmitter that interacts with two receptors in the brain promotes either normal function or a disease process -- determining whether brain cells live or die.

Nicolas G. Bazan, MD, Ph.D, Boyd Professor and Director of the Neuroscience Center of Excellence at LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans, and David Stark, an MD/Ph.D student working in his lab, have discovered how a key chemical neurotransmitter that interacts with two receptors in the brain promotes either normal function or a disease process -- determining whether brain cells live or die.

Related Articles


The work is published and highlighted in the September 28, 2011 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

These findings reveal how receptor signaling takes place between receptors of synapses (gaps between neurons through which chemical or electrical signals pass permitting cells to "talk" to each other) and the mechanisms involved in initiating disease. The receptors, called NMDARs, are located both inside and outside of the synapses. Activation of the NMDRs inside (synaptic) allows the synapse to adjust response to signals and activation of the synaptic NMDRs is also required for survival of the cell. In contrast, activation of the receptors outside the synapse (extrasynaptic) leads to cell death.

The LSUHSC research team believed that activation of the extrasynaptic NMDRs promotes the pathological effects of cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2), a protein known to contribute to inflammation associated with neurotoxicity. They found that activating the synaptic NMDRs greatly increased levels of COX-2, but not of the chemical (arachidonic acid) upon which COX-2 acts. Conversely, activating the extrasynaptic NMDRs increased the levels of arachidonic acid, but not COX-2. The researchers discovered, however, when synaptic and extrasynaptic NMDARs were sequentially activated, the levels of both COX-2 and arachidonic acid increased, as did neurotoxic inflammation.

"We have discovered a fascinating relationship regarding the "conversations" that occur between these two receptors in the brain," said Dr. Nicolas G. Bazan, Professor and Director, LSUHSC Neuroscience Center of Excellence.

"In this paper, we demonstrate how these signals affect cell functions and how they lead to diseases, including stroke, epilepsy and other neurodegenerative disorders. Targeting mechanisms that couple sequential synaptic then extrasynaptic NMDAR stimulations may lead to new anti-inflammatory/neuroprotective approaches."

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Center for Research Resources, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

"I have a very gifted and talented young MD/Ph.D student in my lab, David Stark, who has a National Institutes of Health award, performed exemplary experiments and co-authored the paper with me," said Dr. Bazan.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. D. T. Stark, N. G. Bazan. Synaptic and Extrasynaptic NMDA Receptors Differentially Modulate Neuronal Cyclooxygenase-2 Function, Lipid Peroxidation, and Neuroprotection. Journal of Neuroscience, 2011; 31 (39): 13710 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3544-11.2011

Cite This Page:

Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. "Key to survival of brain cells discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 September 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928185021.htm>.
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. (2011, September 29). Key to survival of brain cells discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928185021.htm
Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. "Key to survival of brain cells discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/09/110928185021.htm (accessed February 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

CDC: Get Vaccinated for Measles

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The CDC is urging people to get vaccinated for measles amid an outbreak that began at Disneyland and has now infected more than 90 people. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Obama To Outline New Plan For Personalized Medicine

Newsy (Jan. 30, 2015) President Obama is expected to speak with drugmakers Friday about his Precision Medicine Initiative first introduced last week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

NFL Concussions Down; Still on Parents' Minds

AP (Jan. 30, 2015) The NFL announced this week that the number of game concussions dropped by a quarter over last season. Still, the dangers of the sport still weigh on players, and parents&apos; minds. (Jan. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

U.S. Wants to Analyze DNA from 1 Million People

Reuters - US Online Video (Jan. 30, 2015) The U.S. has proposed analyzing genetic information from more than 1 million American volunteers to learn how genetic variants affect health and disease. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). 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