Neuroscience Spotlight

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News from the field of Neuroscience.

Neuroscience Spotlight | Bentham Science

In this issue, we take a look at some recent news in the field of neuroscience.

Old blood might be good for the brain

In a surprising discovery, age-related mutations in blood cells, usually linked to increased risks of blood cancer and cardiovascular diseases, seem to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. This unexpected finding challenges previous assumptions and offers new avenues for understanding the complex relationship between aging, blood cells, and brain diseases.

Research conducted by Dr. Siddhartha Jaiswal and his team at Stanford University found that individuals with these mutations were 30 to 40 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer's. These mutations, linked to a condition known as clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP), were unexpectedly found in microglia, the brain's immune cells, challenging the conventional belief that the brain's microglia are established in the womb and don't renew in adulthood. The study suggests a novel connection between aging, blood cells, and brain health, paving the way for further investigations.

Motivating effort is the key to tackle ADHD

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is characterized not only by attention difficulties but also, as highlighted in recent research, by a distinctive challenge in motivation, specifically in the willingness to invest cognitive and physical effort.

Researchers at Monash University in Australia, conducted a study aimed to assess the impact of amphetamine-based medication on effort sensitivity in individuals with ADHD. The research involved 20 ADHD participants on amphetamine-based medication and 24 controls. Through an effort-based decision-making task, it was found that individuals with ADHD had lower motivation for cognitive and physical effort compared to controls. However, when on amphetamine-based medication, motivation significantly increased across both domains.

The results suggest that amphetamines effectively enhance effort sensitivity, potentially providing a means to address reduced motivational drive in ADHD. This research provides valuable insights into the role of catecholamines in motivating effortful behavior, confirming their efficacy in restoring motivation levels similar to those of healthy controls.

Ancient viruses and our brain’s myelin network: a surprising link?

Researchers propose that ancient retroviruses may have played a crucial role in the development of myelin, a fatty tissue that wraps around nerve axons in vertebrates. contributing to the evolution of large and complex brains. The study also explores how RetroMyelin regulates myelin production, demonstrating its role in oligodendrocytes, the cells responsible for myelin in the central nervous system. RetroMyelin is a retrovirus-derived gene sequence. It is found in non-coding regions of many vertebrate genomes and is also essential for myelin production in mammals, amphibians, and fish.

RNLTR12-int is a retrotransposon of retroviral origin. This RNA complex is essential for myelination. RNLTR12-int-encoded RNA binds to the transcription factor SOX10 to regulate transcription of myelin basic protein (Mbp, the major constituent of myelin) in rodents.

The researchers highlight the importance of non-coding regions like retrotransposons in the genome, constituting about 40%, and their potential role in evolutionary processes, which has not been extensively explored in the context of myelin biology.

The research reveals that the RNA transcript of RetroMyelin regulates the expression of myelin basic protein, a key component of myelin. Inhibition of RetroMyelin in rodents led to a loss of myelin basic protein production. The study explores this phenomenon across various vertebrate species, finding analogous sequences in jawed vertebrates but not in jawless vertebrates or invertebrates.

Through a phylogenetic analysis, the researchers suggest that RetroMyelin was acquired multiple times through convergent evolution, emphasizing its functional role in myelination in fish and amphibians. This research marks a novel avenue, emphasizing the significance of non-coding genomic regions in physiological processes and evolutionary trajectories, offering insights into how retroviruses might have broader involvement in directing evolution.

Treating Alzheimer’s Disease with Transcranial Pulse Stimulation

Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains a significant challenge with limited treatment success. In a recent Current Alzheimer Research review contributed by Miguel Ángel Fernández-Blázquez et al. (Universidad de Autonoma de Madrid), explores the potential of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS) as a non-invasive therapy for AD. Since AD is linked to beta-amyloid protein deposition, TPS offers focused and precise stimulation by utilizing mechano-acoustic pulses.

Unlike traditional methods like transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), TPS overcomes conductivity issues and reaches deeper brain areas. The review, based on available evidence, suggests TPS as a safe therapeutic option that complements existing treatments, demonstrating improvements in cognition, emotional well-being, and patients' quality of life. The reviewers conclude that TPS represents a promising avenue in the quest for effective AD therapies.

A new protein linked to early onset dementia has been discovered

Scientists at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) in Cambridge, UK, have identified a potential therapeutic targetfor a rare form of early-onset dementia. The cause of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) was previously unknown. Using cutting-edge cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM), researchers found abnormal aggregates of the protein TAF15 in the brains of individuals with this form of dementia.

Unlike most neurodegenerative diseases where the aggregated proteins are known, about 10% of FTD cases lacked identification. Cryo-EM revealed that TAF15, not the previously suspected FUS protein, formed amyloid filaments in these cases.

This discovery opens new possibilities for diagnostic tests and treatments, contributing to the understanding of FTD's molecular basis and providing a target for therapy development.

Zebrafish Study Reveals Insights into Parkinson’s Disease Mechanisms

In the pursuit of understanding the mechanisms behind Parkinson's disease (PD), Dr. Seong Lin Teoh and the research team from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, recently conducted a study using a rotenone-induced zebrafish model.

Rotenone is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is derived from the roots and stems of certain plants, such as the jicama vine (Lonchocarpus spp.) and several species of legumes

The 28-day exposure to rotenone significantly impaired locomotor activity and altered dopamine-related gene expression, mirroring PD characteristics. Notably, dysregulation in genes associated with cytotoxic T lymphocytes, T cell receptor signaling, microgliosis regulation, cellular response to IL-1, and apoptotic signaling pathways were observed. The findings provide crucial insights into potential contributors to PD development.

This microarray analysis sheds light on some aspects of PD's pathogenesis, offering a platform for further investigations and therapeutic interventions.

Scientists link disruption of a sensitive eye reflex to a rare form of autism

Scientists at UC San Francisco have potentially discovered a novel method for testing autism by observing eye movements in response to head rotation.

Children carrying a variant of the SCN2A gene associated with severe autism, exhibit hypersensitivity in a stabilizing eye reflex called the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR). By using a simple eye-tracking device, researchers measured exaggerated VOR responses in children with autism. The SCN2A gene, crucial for ion channel function in the brain, particularly the cerebellum, showed abnormal expression in these children.

This discovery may offer a faster, non-invasive method for autism diagnosis, especially beneficial for non-verbal or uncooperative children, potentially transforming autism research and clinical practices.

Interested in more neuroscience research? Here are relevant journals from Bentham Science.

CNS & Neurological Disorders - Drug Targets

Central Nervous System Agents in Medicinal Chemistry

Current Neuropharmacology

Current Alzheimer Research

Current Neurovascular Research

Current Aging Science

Submit your article to Upcoming Thematic Issues

New Advances in the Prevention, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Rehabilitation of Alzheimer's Disease

Linear and non-linear Signals from the brain: from basic to clinical application

Virtual reality-based interventions for cognitive rehabilitation in Alzheimer’s disease

Exploring the Potential of Metaverse and Blockchain Technologies for Brain Tumors Research: A Paradigm Shift in Personalized Medicine

Bentham Neuroscience Books:

A Blueprint for the Hard Problem of Consciousness

Animal Models for Neurological Disorders

Introduction to the Study of the Neural Basis of Action and Thought

Neurobiology of Mood Disorders

Neurodegenerative Diseases: Multifactorial degenerative processes, Biomarkers and Therapeutic approaches

Recent Advances in the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Transcription Factors CREB and NF-κB: Involvement in Synaptic Plasticity and Memory Formation

Check out the
Bentham Neurological Disorders Article Collection.

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