About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Harnessing Cell Death Protein may Help Prevent Cancer, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s

by VR Sreeraman on September 23, 2007 at 11:23 AM
Font : A-A+

Harnessing Cell Death Protein may Help Prevent Cancer, Stroke, and Alzheimer’s

A new study has shown that harnessing a powerful protein called SRP-6 that can potentially halt necrosis —a chaotic, irreversible pathway to cell death — may prevent cancer, stroke, and other neurological diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases.

While scientists have for long believed that cell death related to stroke or heart attack cannot be repaired, the study at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has found evidence to the contrary.


"For years, we believed that cell death related to a catastrophic insult such as a stroke or heart attack that deprives tissue of oxygen couldn't really be treated, so we focused on strategies to prevent further damage by restoring blood flow as quickly as possible with clot busters and surgery," said Dr. Gary A. Silverman, chief of newborn medicine in the department of pediatrics at the Pitt School of Medicine.

"But our research indicates that necrosis can be interrupted and possibly repaired, even after the injury process is well underway. This insight has exciting implications for the management of heart disease, stroke and neurological illnesses," added the senior author of the study published in the journal Cell.

The remarkable molecular trigger, SRP-6, is a serine protease inhibitor or serpin.

Dr. Silverman and his colleagues illustrated the devastating consequences of cellular stress in Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a primitive organism whose complete genetic code has been sequenced, when the crucial protector SRP-6 is missing.

A cascade of cell necrosis begins in SRP-6-deficient animals exposed to a number of different stressors such as water, heat and lack of oxygen, say the researchers.

The SRP-6 knock-outs moved a bit but soon became immobile when exposed to water, and finally their organs were violently expelled through their bodily openings.

"Animals with normal genetic sequences are fine in water, but the knock-out animals usually die rapidly," said Dr. Luke, explaining that the observation led him to realize the importance of SRP-6 in protecting the lysosome, an internal cell structure enclosed in its own protective membrane that acts as the cell's garbage disposal.

Powerful enzymes within the lysosome digest old, worn out proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, DNA, RNA, other damaged cell structures and even invading bacteria and viruses. But when the lysosome gets damaged or becomes leaky, such enzymes can turn against the cell and possibly overcome the serpin defence, useful if the cell is part of a cancerous tumour.

The researchers found that SRP-6 staves off necrosis by protecting the lysosome membrane from damage caused by the calpain family of cysteine proteases, and by neutralizing other cysteine proteases released from injured cellular structures called organelles as they are being digested by the lysosome.

Dr. Silverman and colleagues labelled enzymes within the lysosomes of SRP-6-deficient animals with a fluorescent biomarker to observe how they reacted after an injury to the critical structure.

"The lysosomes popped, released their contents into the cell and these digestive enzymes began to activate, making the whole animal fluoresce. Again, this experiment showed the importance of SRP-6 in management of the necrosis pathway," said Dr. Silverman.

"There are a lot of diseases associated with cell necrosis, such as stroke, neurodegenerative diseases and NEC, and now we know that the pathway to necrosis is much more systematic than we once thought it was. With further study, we may be able to identify targets of intervention to halt the necrotic progression in some of these diseases and possibly even prevent them," said ," said Dr. Cliff J. Luke, assistant professor of pediatrics at Pitt.

Source: ANI

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2021 - Fighting for Rights in the Post-COVID Era
Effect of Blood Group Type on COVID-19 Risk and Severity
Woman with Rare Spinal Cord Defect from Birth Sues Doctor
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Mitral Valve Stenosis And Mitral Valve Replacement Congenital Heart Disease Stress and the Gender Divide Cancer Facts Death Facts Stroke Facts Stroke Cancer Hyperventilation Bereavement 

Recommended Reading
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson's disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting memory and thinking and ......
Know Your Nervous System
The Central nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the body's nerve network. ......
Bereavement refers to grief, pain and sadness following the loss of a loved one, especially during t...
Congenital Heart Disease
Heart diseases that are present at birth are called “ Congenital heart diseases”....
Hyperventilation occurs when a person breathes in excess to the body’s requirement....
Mitral Valve Stenosis And Mitral Valve Replacement
Mitral valve replacement is a surgical heart procedure to correct either the narrowing (stenosis) or...
Stress and the Gender Divide
Stress has become entwined in the current lifestyle of a young working couple and has resulted in th...
Stroke can cause permanent disability and it is important to recognize its early warning signs to st...

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use