Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New development in relief of spasms related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Date:
November 6, 2012
Source:
INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale)
Summary:
Scientists have recently discovered the origin of spasms - a disabling symptom of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The degeneration of serotonin-releasing neurons is responsible for these sensations. In the longer term, researchers imagine that molecules acting on serotonin receptors present in the brain could eliminate spasticity in patients.

A team of researchers from Strasbourg, directed by Luc Dupuis (Inserm unit 692 "molecular signalling and neurodegeneration"), has recently discovered the origin of spasms -- a disabling symptom of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. The degeneration of serotonin-releasing neurons is responsible for these sensations. In the longer term, researchers imagine that molecules acting on serotonin receptors present in the brain could eliminate spasticity in patients.

Related Articles


Their results are published in the journal Brain.

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a neurodegenerative disease with an occurrence rate in France similar to multiple sclerosis (two to three new cases per year for every 100,000 residents). It has a specific affect on neurons responsible for motor control, in particular motor neurons and central motor neurons. The former, located in the spinal cord, are directly linked to muscles and are used for muscle contraction and stretching. The latter, located in the brain, receive movement orders. As the disease develops, the neurons degenerate and the muscles are no longer stimulated and stop working. Movements, walking and speech become increasingly difficult and patients tend to pass away an average of two to five years after diagnosis, generally due to respiratory failure.

Paralysis is accompanied by other symptoms, which can be highly disabling on a daily basis. Spasms (or spasticity) are an exaggerated muscular response to a stimulus; they produce long and involuntary muscle contractions, coupled with pain. Spasticity is frequently observed in ALS. Until now, it was attributed to the loss of central motor neurons.

In this study, Inserm researchers have shown that these spasms are, in fact, linked to the degeneration of another type of serotonin-producing neurons located on the brain.

They have observed -- both in patients with ALS and in a transgenic mouse model -- that serotonergic neurons waste away as the disease develops and that serotonin levels in the spinal cord sharply decreased before the motor-related symptoms appeared.

Furthermore, some molecules active against serotonin receptors eliminate spasms in transgenic mice suffering from ALS. This research demonstrates that neuron degeneration in ALS is not limited to the motor system in its strictest sense. For Luc Dupuis "molecules acting on serotonin receptors 5-HT2B and C could be antispastic for ALS patients over the long-term."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. C. Dentel, L. Palamiuc, A. Henriques, B. Lannes, O. Spreux-Varoquaux, L. Gutknecht, F. Rene, A. Echaniz-Laguna, J.-L. Gonzalez de Aguilar, K. P. Lesch, V. Meininger, J.-P. Loeffler, L. Dupuis. Degeneration of serotonergic neurons in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: a link to spasticity. Brain, 2012; DOI: 10.1093/brain/aws274

Cite This Page:

INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale). "New development in relief of spasms related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106102050.htm>.
INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale). (2012, November 6). New development in relief of spasms related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106102050.htm
INSERM (Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale). "New development in relief of spasms related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121106102050.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) — The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) — Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

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