Breaking News
September 26, 2018 - Epidural stimulation and locomotor training helps patients with spinal cord injury to walk
September 26, 2018 - RTI’s TETRAfuse 3D Technology wins 2018 Spine Technology Award
September 26, 2018 - Researchers discover novel targeting agents to prevent cancer metastasis
September 26, 2018 - Researchers develop molecule that makes cancer cells sensitive to radiotherapy
September 26, 2018 - American Cancer Society releases new cookbook for cancer patients
September 26, 2018 - Relmada Therapeutics Provides Enrollment Update in Phase 2 Study of REL-1017 (dextromethadone) in Patients with Major Depressive Disorder
September 26, 2018 - Many doctors in India miss TB signs: study
September 26, 2018 - Horwitz Prize Awarded for Work on Hormones
September 26, 2018 - Genomic ‘islands’ evolved from viruses can be converted into ‘anti-bacterial drones’
September 26, 2018 - Most running injuries may be influenced by simple technique errors, finds study
September 26, 2018 - Optimizing dopaminergic treatment improves non-motor symptoms and quality of life
September 26, 2018 - NIRS-IVUS imaging identifies patients and plaques vulnerable to subsequent adverse cardiac events
September 26, 2018 - New insights into what drives organ transplant rejection
September 26, 2018 - Tiny Device Is a ‘Huge Advance’ for Treatment of Severe Heart Failure
September 26, 2018 - Research shows possibility to postpone cumbersome treatment for low-risk MDS patients
September 26, 2018 - CSU chemists may help in making extracorporeal life support devices more effective
September 26, 2018 - Brain marker linked with aggression in toddlers identified
September 26, 2018 - Blood-brain barrier can be important biomarker for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease
September 26, 2018 - PCORI, AHRQ announce awards to support patient-centered outcomes research in learning health systems
September 26, 2018 - Scientists discover and characterize human skeletal stem cells
September 26, 2018 - Repeat CT Common in Peds Traumatic Epidural Hematoma
September 26, 2018 - Genetics Home Reference: bunion
September 26, 2018 - Increase observed in hearts from drug-intoxicated donors
September 26, 2018 - For Heart Failure Patients, Mitral Valve Procedure Improved Outcomes
September 26, 2018 - TINY cancer detection device shows promise as point-of-care detector of KSHV
September 26, 2018 - Women with non-small cell lung cancers live longer than their male counterparts
September 26, 2018 - KTU researchers engineer experimental bone to help treat osteoarthritis patients
September 26, 2018 - Foundation for a Smoke-Free World calls for proposals to implement Smoke-Free Index
September 26, 2018 - Functional Imagery Training helps lose five times more weight than talking therapy
September 26, 2018 - Fewer American Teens Having Sex, Most Using Birth Control
September 26, 2018 - We are predisposed to forgive, new research suggests
September 26, 2018 - Insomnia Exacts Heavy Toll on Quality of Life
September 26, 2018 - Clinical study shows efficacy, safety of novel drug-eluting stent with improved radiographic visibility
September 26, 2018 - Cytox, AIBL announce expanded agreement to assess genetic risk for Alzheimer’s
September 26, 2018 - Study finds persistent rate of lawnmower injury-related emergency department visits
September 26, 2018 - Researchers find molecule that halts, reverts neurodegeneration caused by Parkinson’s disease
September 26, 2018 - Novartis announces winners of 2018 eXcellence in Ophthalmology Vision Award
September 26, 2018 - New spinout company to tackle drug-resistant infections with novel antibiotics
September 26, 2018 - In depression the brain region for stress control is larger
September 26, 2018 - Smuggling RNA into cells can activate the immune system to fight cancer
September 26, 2018 - Special Focus Issue takes wide view of complementary and integrative medicine in cancer
September 26, 2018 - Researchers now confirm that genome duplication drives evolution of species
September 25, 2018 - Study provides evidence of beta lactamase producing, antimicrobial resistant E. coli in U.S. retail meat
September 25, 2018 - UCI study finds new cause of cerebral microbleeds
September 25, 2018 - Researchers propose mechanism by which ASTN2 protein defects lead to brain disorders
September 25, 2018 - Chinese and German researchers to cooperate more closely in future for better food
September 25, 2018 - Recent study helps predict probability of pregnant mothers to have child with autism
September 25, 2018 - New online, sound matching tool offers tinnitus sufferers potential treatment options
September 25, 2018 - UC Davis researchers take critical step in developing more effective Salmonella vaccine
September 25, 2018 - Antibiotics best paediatric treatment for children’s chronic wet cough
September 25, 2018 - Looking beyond opioids: Stanford pain psychologist briefs Congress
September 25, 2018 - Organs actively fighting back against autoimmune diseases, finds study
September 25, 2018 - Lancaster professor aims to understand how genes affect smoking cessation
September 25, 2018 - Human-oriented perspective needed to better understand Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Physical activity may have beneficial effects for people with rare Alzheimer’s disease
September 25, 2018 - FDA Updates on Valsartan Recalls
September 25, 2018 - 3-D-printed tracheal splints used in groundbreaking pediatric surgery
September 25, 2018 - Who is the designated driver, or proxy, for your health decisions?
September 25, 2018 - New chemo-optogenetic method enables multi-directional activity control of cellular processes
September 25, 2018 - Study explores link between genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s and cardiometabolic risk factors
September 25, 2018 - NeoTract presents new clinical data from studies of UroLift System for patients with BPH
September 25, 2018 - Patients with paralysis manage to walk thanks to new technology
September 25, 2018 - Statins Improve Long-Term Survival After AAA Repair
September 25, 2018 - Novel brain network linked to chronic pain in Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Researchers reassess negative pressure wound therapy as its benefit and harm remain unclear
September 25, 2018 - Older adults with ‘fall plan of care’ less likely to suffer fall-related hospitalizations
September 25, 2018 - FDA lifts partial clinical hold that paused enrollment of new patients in tazemetosta clinical trials
September 25, 2018 - IME Medical Electrospinning establishes state-of-the-art manufacturing lab facilities
September 25, 2018 - Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials of entrectinib drug in ROS1-positive NSCLC show promising results
September 25, 2018 - How to Protect Your Eyesight
September 25, 2018 - Novel approach allows researchers to define how cells in the retina respond to diabetes
September 25, 2018 - Columbia University announces winners of 2018 Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize
September 25, 2018 - New model enables anyone to run powerful simulations, complex calculations easily
September 25, 2018 - Clinical trial investigators found non-compliant with requirement to report results on EU register
September 25, 2018 - Study analyzes quality of protein supplements in function of source, treatment and storage
September 25, 2018 - FDA grants Orphan Drug Designation to Myelo001 for treatment of Acute Radiation Syndrome
September 25, 2018 - U.S. Alzheimer’s Cases to Nearly Triple by 2060
September 25, 2018 - Improving cell replacement therapy for Parkinson’s disease
September 25, 2018 - Genervon reports new findings that drug candidate GM6 attenuates Alzheimer’s disease in mice model
September 25, 2018 - FDA approves new 5 mm diameter drug-eluting stent from Cook Medical
Gene therapy may help brain heal from stroke, other injuries

Gene therapy may help brain heal from stroke, other injuries

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print
Reactive astrocytes surround the lesion site in the injured spinal cord. A new mouse study shows that triggering a gene inside astrocytes activates the star-shaped cells and may improve the brain’s ability to heal from a range of debilitating conditions, from strokes to concussions and spine injuries. Credit: Meifan Amy Chen, Ph.D. UT Southwestern

Scientists have found a genetic trigger that may improve the brain’s ability to heal from a range of debilitating conditions, from strokes to concussions and spinal cord injuries.

A new study in mice from UT Southwestern’s O’Donnell Brain Institute shows that turning on a gene inside cells called astrocytes results in a smaller scar and – potentially – a more effective recovery from injury.

The research examined spinal injuries but likely has implications for treating a number of brain conditions through gene therapy targeting astrocytes, said Dr. Mark Goldberg, Chairman of Neurology & Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern.

“We’ve known that astrocytes can help the brain and spinal cord recover from injury, but we didn’t fully understand the trigger that activates these cells,” Dr. Goldberg said. “Now we’ll be able to look at whether turning on the switch we identified can help in the healing process.”

The study published in Cell Reports found that the LZK gene of astrocytes can be turned on to prompt a recovery response called astrogliosis, in which these star-shaped cells proliferate around injured neurons and form a scar.

Scientists deleted the LZK gene in astrocytes of one group of injured mice, which decreased the cells’ injury response and resulted in a larger wound on the spinal cord. They overexpressed the gene in other injured mice, which stimulated the cells’ injury response and resulted in a smaller scar. Overexpressing the gene in uninjured mice also activated the astrocytes, confirming LZK as a trigger for astrogliosis.

Genetically modified astrocytes (red) line the lesion border in the injured spinal cord. A new mouse study shows that triggering a gene inside astrocytes activates the star-shaped cells and may improve the brain’s ability to heal from a range of debilitating conditions, from stroke to concussions and spine injuries. Credit: Meifan Amy Chen, Ph.D. UT Southwestern

Dr. Goldberg said a smaller scar likely aids the healing process by isolating the injured neurons, similar to how isolating a spreading infection can improve recovery. “But we don’t know under what circumstances this hypothesis is true because until now we didn’t have an easy way to turn the astrocyte reactivity on and off,” he said.

Further study is needed to analyze whether a compact scar tissue indeed improves recovery and how this process affects the neurons’ ability to reform connections with each other.

Dr. Goldberg’s lab will conduct more research to examine the effects of astrogliosis in stroke and spinal cord injuries. The researchers will determine whether turning up LZK in mice in advance of an injury affects its severity. They will then measure how the formation of the compact scar helps or hinders recovery.

“It has been a big mystery whether increasing astrocyte reactivity would be beneficial,” said Dr. Meifan Amy Chen, the study’s lead author and Instructor of Neurology at the Peter O’Donnell Jr. Brain Institute. “The discovery of LZK as an on switch now offers a molecular tool to answer this question.”


Explore further:
Promising therapeutic approach for spinal cord injuries

More information:
Meifan Chen et al. Leucine Zipper-Bearing Kinase Is a Critical Regulator of Astrocyte Reactivity in the Adult Mammalian CNS, Cell Reports (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.02.102

Journal reference:
Cell Reports

Provided by:
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles