Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sugar for the brain: Mechanism to prevent programmed cell death of nerve cells deciphered

Date:
January 16, 2012
Source:
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Summary:
Scientists have deciphered a mechanism to prevent programmed cell death of nerve cells.

Oxygen and glucose are the food of our brain. If they are absent, such as during a stroke, nerve cells die. An international research team at Charité -- Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Germany, and McMaster University, Canada, has discovered a novel mechanism to prevent this cell death. The results of the study have now been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA.

Related Articles


Brief periods of oxygen deprivation can act like a training session for cells in the human body. As a result, they are better able to survive longer periods of oxygen deprivation -- they are "prepared," so to speak. In addition, it is known that oxygen deficiency also affects sugar metabolism. However, sugar metabolism and programmed death of a cell so far have been regarded as independent events.

A research team led by the two scientists Philipp Mergenthaler and Andreas Meisel, who work together at the NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence at the Charité, now explains the link between these two processes. The survival of the cell is regulated by a key enzyme of sugar metabolism, the so-called hexokinase II. This enzyme alters the sugar nutrient glucose in such a way that it can be processed by the cell. The researchers discovered that this enzyme is activated in the nerve cells of the brain after a lack of oxygen. This happens, for example in the case of a stroke, a circulatory disorder of the brain, resulting in insufficient oxygen and nutrient supplies in the brain. The enzyme then plays a protective role. "This self-protection of the nerve cell represents an important basis for further research, from which it may be possible to develop optimized stroke therapies," says Meisel.

However, the molecular mechanisms of the oxygen deficiency and altered cellular metabolism not only play a role for stroke, but are also very important for tumor development and the defense against infections by the immune system. Consequently, the enzyme is held responsible for alterations in sugar metabolism of malignant tumors. However, if there is glucose deficiency in the cell and normal oxygen supplies, it can also cause cell death. "Understanding the basic mechanism of how sugar metabolism regulates cell death might thus be used to protect against stroke, but could also be used to selectively cause cell death in malignant tumors," Mergenthaler explains. The mechanism how sugar metabolism regulates cell death thus fundamentally expands the basic medical knowledge of many diseases.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Mergenthaler, A. Kahl, A. Kamitz, V. van Laak, K. Stohlmann, S. Thomsen, H. Klawitter, I. Przesdzing, L. Neeb, D. Freyer, J. Priller, T. J. Collins, D. Megow, U. Dirnagl, D. W. Andrews, A. Meisel. Mitochondrial hexokinase II (HKII) and phosphoprotein enriched in astrocytes (PEA15) form a molecular switch governing cellular fate depending on the metabolic state. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1108225109

Cite This Page:

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Sugar for the brain: Mechanism to prevent programmed cell death of nerve cells deciphered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 January 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116112606.htm>.
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. (2012, January 16). Sugar for the brain: Mechanism to prevent programmed cell death of nerve cells deciphered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116112606.htm
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Sugar for the brain: Mechanism to prevent programmed cell death of nerve cells deciphered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120116112606.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) — In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) — A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani 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

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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