Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Stem cell discovery gives insight into motor neuron disease

Date:
February 11, 2013
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
A discovery using stem cells from a patient with motor neuron disease could help research into treatments for the condition. The study used a patient's skin cells to create motor neurons - nerve cells that control muscle activity - and the cells that support them called astrocytes.

A discovery using stem cells from a patient with motor neuron disease could help research into treatments for the condition. The study used a patient's skin cells to create motor neurons -- nerve cells that control muscle activity -- and the cells that support them called astrocytes.

Researchers studied these two types of cells in the laboratory. They found that a protein expressed by abnormalities in a gene linked to motor neuron disease, which is called TDP-43, caused the astrocytes to die.

The study, led by the University of Edinburgh and funded by the Motor Neurone Disease Association, provides fresh insight into the mechanisms involved in the disease.

Although TDP-43 mutations are a rare cause of motor neuron disease (MND), scientists are especially interested in the gene because in the vast majority of MND patients, TDP-43 protein (made by the TDP-43 gene) forms pathological clumps inside motor neurons.

Motor neurons die in MND leading to paralysis and early death.

This study shows for the first time that abnormal TDP-43 protein causes death of astrocytes. The researchers, however, found that the damaged astrocytes were not directly toxic to motor neurons.

Better understanding the role of astrocytes could help to inform research into treatments for MND.

Professor Siddharthan Chandran, of the University of Edinburgh, said: "Motor neuron disease is a devastating and ultimately fatal condition, for which there is no cure or effective treatment. It is not just a question of looking solely at motor neurons, but also the cells that surround them, to understand why motor neurons die. Our aim is to find ways to slow down progression of this devastating disease and ultimately develop a cure."

These findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences., are significant as they show that different mechanisms are at work in different types of MND.

The research, led by the University of Edinburgh's Euan MacDonald Centre for Motor Neurone Research, was carried out in collaboration with King's College, London, Columbia University in New York, the University of California and the Gladstone Institutes in San Francisco.

Dr Brian Dickie, the MND Association's Director of Research Development, said: "From a therapeutic perspective this finding is important because it means that specific treatments targeted at astrocytes may only be relevant and effective, in specific subsets of patients who will have to be carefully selected for drug trials."


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Stem cell discovery gives insight into motor neuron disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211162331.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2013, February 11). Stem cell discovery gives insight into motor neuron disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211162331.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Stem cell discovery gives insight into motor neuron disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130211162331.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. 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