About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Study Unveils Nitric Oxide's Ability To Alter Brain Function

by VR Sreeraman on November 30, 2008 at 11:59 AM
Font : A-A+

Study Unveils Nitric Oxide's Ability To Alter Brain Function

A team of British researchers has found that nitric oxide (NO) can change the computational ability of the brain.

Experts at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Toxicology Unit at the University of Leicester say that their new finding has implications for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's Disease.

Advertisement

Professor Ian Forsythe, who led the study at the university, said that the new findings might also help advance scientists' understanding of brain function more generally.

"It is well known that nerve cells communicate via the synapse - the site at which chemical messengers (neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine or glutamate) are packaged and then released under tight control to influence their neighbours," Professor Forsythe, of the MRC Toxicology Unit, said in a research paper published in the journal Neuron.
Advertisement

"Nitric oxide is a chemical messenger which cannot be stored and can rapidly diffuse across cell membranes to act at remote sites (in contrast to conventional neurotransmitters which cannot pass across cell membranes).

"It is broadly localized in the central nervous system, where it influences synaptic transmission and contributes to learning and memory mechanisms. However, because it is normally released in such minute quantities and is so labile, it is very difficult to study.

"We have exploited an in vitro preparation of a giant synapse -called the calyx of Held, developed here at the University of Leicester in the 1990s- and its target in the auditory pathway to explore nitric oxide signalling in the brain.

"We show that NO is made in response to incoming synaptic activity (activity generated by sound received by the ear) and that it acts to suppress a key potassium ion-channel (Kv3). Normally these ion-channels keep electrical potentials very short-lived, but nitric oxide shifts their activity, slowing the electrical potentials and reducing information passage along the pathway, acting as a form of gain control.

"Surprisingly, the whole population of neurons were affected, even those neurons which had no active synaptic inputs, so indicating that nitric oxide is a 'volume transmitter' passing information between cells without the need for a synapse. Such a function is ideal for tuning neuronal populations to global activity. On the other hand, too much nitric oxide is extremely toxic and will cause death of nerve cells; so within the kernel of this important signalling mechanism are the potential seeds for neurodegeneration, which if left unchecked contribute to the pathologies of stroke and dementias," the researcher added.

Professor Forsythe revealed that his research team will be trying to understand how these signalling mechanisms are applicable elsewhere in the brain, and how aberrant signalling contributes to neurodegenerative disease processes such as in Alzheimer's disease.

Source: ANI
SRM
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Coffee May Help You Fight Endometrial Cancer
Fermented Skin Care
Television Binge-Watching May Boost the Risk of Deadly Blood Clots
View all

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

More News on:
Parkinsons Disease Parkinsons Disease Surgical Treatment Brain Brain Facts Ataxia Language Areas in The Brain Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ) 

Recommended Reading
Alzheimers Disease
Alzheimer's disease is a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting memory and thinking and ......
Brilliant Human Brain - Animation
The most amazing and complex organ in the entire universe, the human brain continues to remain an .....
Know Your Nervous System
The Central nervous system consists of the brain, the spinal cord, and the body's nerve network. ......
Express Screening Test Developed to Detects Early Alzheimer's
A team of researchers has come up with a rapid test to detect Alzheimer's disease in its early ......
Ataxia
Ataxia affects coordination. Gait becomes unstable and the patient loses balance. The cerebellum or ...
Language Areas in The Brain
The mechanism of how human brain processes the language to express and comprehend the verbal, writte...
Parkinsons Disease
Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by progressive dopamine brain cells loss. ...
Ways to Improve your Intelligence Quotient (IQ)
Intelligence quotient (IQ) is a psychological measure of human intelligence. Regular physical and me...

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 - 2022

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
open close
ASK A DOCTOR ONLINE
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)