Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Faulty energy production in brain cells leads to disorders ranging from Parkinson's to intellectual disability

Date:
May 16, 2013
Source:
VIB
Summary:
Neuroscientists have shown for the first time that dysfunctional mitochondria in brain cells can lead to learning disabilities. The link between dysfunctional mitochondria and Parkinson's disease is known, but this new research shows that it is also present in other brain disorders.

Neuroscientist Patrik Verstreken of VIB (Flanders Institute for Biotechnology) and KU Leuven has shown for the first time that dysfunctional mitochondria in brain cells can lead to learning disabilities. The link between dysfunctional mitochondria and Parkinson's disease is known, but this new research shows that it is also present in other brain disorders.

Related Articles


Patrik Verstreken (VIB / KU Leuven): "This discovery shows that energy production in brain cells is the basis of various brain disorders. We hope that a better understanding of the mechanisms used by the cell to maintain optimum energy levels will lead in the long term to medical applications that prevent or cure these diseases."

Dysfunctional mitochondria toxic for the brain cell

Well-functioning mitochondria -- the organelles that generate energy in cells -- are essential for a healthy brain. They provide the energy needed for communication between brain cells, which is crucial for transmitting stimuli and signals and thus for optimal functioning of the body. Earlier research has shown that Parkinson's disease is often paired with dysfunctional mitochondria. Moreover, dysfunctional mitochondria are not efficiently discarded from the cell, which complicates the operation of other healthy mitochondria and leads to insufficient energy production in the cell. They can be compared to a faulty engine that emits toxic fumes.

Quality control by the brain cell

The Leuven-based VIB researchers Dominik Haddad, Vanessa Morais and Patrik Verstreken have unraveled the mechanism by which brain cells trigger the destruction of dysfunctional mitochondria. Once the mechanism is triggered, communication between brain cells is reestablished. The researchers were surprised to find that this mechanism is not only defective in Parkinson's disease, but also in specific cases of intellectual disability. These results indicate the wider importance of mitochondria for optimal functioning of our brains. Haddad, Morais and Verstreken hope that their insights eventually contribute to the prevention of various brain disorders.

Brain disorders in Europe

1 in 3 Europeans will suffer from a brain disorder during his or her lifetime. All of us know people with dementia, schizophrenia, intellectual disability or another brain condition. Each of these diseases penetrates to a person's core and have a huge impact on the patient and his or her family. They also carry an economic impact: €800 billion is spent each year in Europe to cover brain disorder-related health needs.

Bart De Strooper (VIB/KU Leuven): "The brain is decisive in shaping who we are, but from a scientific standpoint, it is uncharted territory. This research constitutes an important piece of the complex puzzle. Brain research is vital, especially because brain disorders weigh so heavily on patients, their families and society. I am delighted that May 2013 has been designated the European Month of the Brain."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Dominik M. Haddad, Sven Vilain, Melissa Vos, Giovanni Esposito, Samer Matta, Vera M. Kalscheuer, Katleen Craessaerts, Maarten Leyssen, Rafaella M.P. Nascimento, Angela M. Vianna-Morgante, Bart De Strooper, Hilde Van Esch, Vanessa A. Morais, Patrik Verstreken. Mutations in the Intellectual Disability Gene Ube2a Cause Neuronal Dysfunction and Impair Parkin-Dependent Mitophagy. Molecular Cell, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2013.04.012

Cite This Page:

VIB. "Faulty energy production in brain cells leads to disorders ranging from Parkinson's to intellectual disability." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516123804.htm>.
VIB. (2013, May 16). Faulty energy production in brain cells leads to disorders ranging from Parkinson's to intellectual disability. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 29, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516123804.htm
VIB. "Faulty energy production in brain cells leads to disorders ranging from Parkinson's to intellectual disability." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130516123804.htm (accessed March 29, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

These Popular Antibiotics Can Cause Permanent Nerve Damage

Newsy (Mar. 27, 2015) — A popular class of antibiotic can leave patients in severe pain and even result in permanent nerve damage. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

WH Plan to Fight Antibiotic-Resistant Germs

AP (Mar. 27, 2015) — The White House on Friday announced a five-year plan to fight the threat posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria amid fears that once-treatable germs could become deadly. (March 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

House Ready to Pass Medicare Doc Bill

AP (Mar. 26, 2015) — In rare bipartisan harmony, congressional leaders pushed a $214 billion bill permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts toward House passage Thursday, moving lawmakers closer to resolving a problem that has plagued them for years. (March 26) Video provided by AP
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