Insights into epigenetics: Mouse as a model organism

The FKBP5 gene is associated with stress-related psychiatric disorders. Not only the gene itself, but also epigenetic changes are possible biomarkers for the long-term consequences of stress. The underlying mechanisms cannot yet be determined in humans. Previous research suggests that the mouse is a suitable model organism for investigating the influences of genetics, the environment and their interaction in brain tissue. Scientists have now provided the first evidence that epigenetic changes – crucial key elements for the regulation of genes – can also be investigated in the so-called humanized FKBP5 mouse model.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Pharmacological Inhibitor Protects Nerve Cells in ALS Disease

A new pharmacological inhibitor can intervene in a central cell death mechanism that is responsible for the death of motor neurons and hence important for the progression of the motor neuron disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). A research team led by Prof. Dr Hilmar Bading, neurobiologist at Heidelberg University, examined a neuroprotective molecule that belongs to a novel drug class. It is able to inhibit the interactions of certain proteins and has been successfully tested in a mouse model of ALS and in brain organoids of ALS patients.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Stress Influences Brain and Psyche Via Immune System

Chronic stress affects the immune system and the brain. UZH researchers now show that a particular enzyme found in cells of the immune system enters the brain under stress. In mice, it causes them to withdraw and avoid social contact. This newly discovered connection between body and mind in stress-related mental illnesses could lead to new treatments for depression.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Neurons can feel the pulse in the brain

UR Researchers at the Faculty for Biology and Preclinical Medicine publish study in Science

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Zebrafish Navigate to Find Their Comfortable Temperature

Zebrafish are smaller than your little finger, with a brain no more than half the size of a pinhead. Yet these animals possess an efficient navigation system that enables them to find their way back to spots in the water where the temperature suits them. This has been revealed in a recent study by the University of Bonn and University Hospital Bonn together with the Technical University of Munich (TUM), whose findings have been published in the journal “Current Biology.”

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Brain Research: Important Inhibitory Synapses in the Cerebellum Unraveled

Whether picking up a small object like a pen or coordinating different body parts, the cerebellum in the brain performs essential functions for controlling our movement. Researchers at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) investigated how a crucial set of synapses between neurons within it functions and develops. Their findings have now been published in the journal Neuron.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Surprise! – How the brain learns to deal with the unexpected

For children, the world is full of surprises. Adults, on the other hand, are much more difficult to surprise. And there are complex processes behind this apparently straightforward state of affairs. Researchers at the University of Basel have been using mice to decode how reactions to the unexpected develop in the growing brain.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Pedigree of Brain Cells: New study explains development of the mammalian superior colliculus

The superior colliculus in the mammalian brain takes on many important tasks by making sense of our environment. Any mistakes during the development of this brain region can lead to severe neurological disorders. ISTA scientist Giselle Cheung and colleagues have now, for the first time, delineated the pedigree and origin of nerve cells that make up the superior colliculus. Their findings have been published in the journal Neuron.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

New Source of Stem Cells in Injury-Affected Brains of Patients

Researchers from Helmholtz Munich and the LMU have discovered that, in the case of brain injuries, specific cells in the brain become active in disease situations, exhibiting properties of neural stem cells. The authors further discovered that a specific protein regulates these cells and hence could function as a target for therapy and thereby contribute to better treatments for brain injuries in the future. The new findings shed light on the specificity of astrocyte reaction in different injury conditions and the results are now published in Nature Medicine.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Tracing the Evolution of the “Little Brain”

The evolution of higher cognitive functions in humans has so far mostly been linked to the expansion of the neocortex. Researchers are increasingly realising, however, that the “little brain” or cerebellum also expanded during evolution and probably contributes to the capacities unique to humans. A Heidelberg research team has now generated comprehensive genetic maps of the development of cells in the cerebella of human, mouse and opossum. Comparisons of these maps reveal both ancestral and species-specific cellular and molecular characteristics of cerebellum development.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Understanding the Role of GIP in Managing Diabetes and Obesity

The increasing amount of patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes benefit greatly from the recently developed GIPR:GLP-1R co-agonists. These novel compounds lead to substantial weight loss, offering a revolutionary approach to patients worldwide. Although the hormone glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) was already shown by Helmholtz Munich scientists to decrease body weight via the brain GIP receptor, the underlying neurons through which GIP acts in the brain remained unknown.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Neue Studie enthüllt die zugrunde liegende Komplexität von Gehirnsynapsen

Eine neue Studie, die kürzlich in der Fachzeitschrift CELL veröffentlicht wurde, verändert unser Verständnis der grundlegenden Bausteine des Gehirns, der Proteine an den Synapsen. Unter dem Titel „The proteomic landscape of synaptic diversity across brain regions and cell types“ taucht die Studie tief in die komplexe Welt der Synapsen ein, der lebenswichtigen Verbindungen zwischen Nervenzellen. Unter der Leitung eines Wissenschaftlerteams des Schuman-Labors am Max-Planck-Institut für Hirnforschung in Frankfurt am Main wurden mehr als 1.800 Proteine identifiziert, die es den verschiedenen Synapsen im Gehirn ermöglichen, ihre unterschiedlichen Aufgaben zu erfüllen.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Exploring the Brain Basis of Concepts by Using a New Type of Neural Networks

Cognition and brain scientists at Freie Universität Berlin publish study on causal effects of language on thought

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Distributed workload in the fly brain

Recognizing motion requires an enormous amount of computing power from the brain. A new study from Alexander Borst’s department at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence shows how the fly brain masters this task: By performing a neuronal computation on three network levels, it distributes the workload over several steps. This is the first time that researchers have deciphered a neuronal network in which one cell type performs the same computation at all network levels. This approach helps fruit flies to reliably recognize different motion patterns – the prerequisite for staying on track.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Vision in the brain – hardwired for action

Animals possess specialized networks of neurons in the brain that receive signals about the outside world from the retina and respond by initiating appropriate behavior. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence studied a genetic mutation in zebrafish that eliminates all connections between retina and brain throughout development. The team found that in these ‘deep-blind’ fish the brain circuits are fully functional, as direct brain stimulation with optogenetics can drive normal visual behavior. This shows that the assembly of the brain in zebrafish requires little, if any, visual experience.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

CHOOSEn fate: one brain organoid’s tale on Autism

Does the human brain have an Achilles heel that ultimately leads to Autism? With a revolutionizing novel system that combines brain organoid technology and intricate genetics, researchers can now comprehensively test the effect of multiple mutations in parallel and at a single-cell level within human brain organoids. This technology, developed by researchers from the Knoblich group at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology (IMBA) of the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Treutlein group at ETH Zurich, permits the identification of vulnerable cell types and gene regulatory networks that underlie autism spectrum disorders. The results were published on September 13 in Nature.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

The Bernstein Conference attracts brain scientists from all over the world to Berlin

From September 26-29, international neuroscientists will meet in the facilities of the Humboldt University of Berlin and Charité to discuss the latest findings in Computational Neuroscience. This marks the end of an era, as the Bernstein Conference will move to Frankfurt am Main for the following years after several years in Berlin.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Expression pattern of key receptors in the hypothalamus revealed

There is growing evidence that peptide hormones from the gut have far-reaching effects on the whole organism. By binding to corresponding receptors in the brain, they can modulate food intake and alter metabolic parameters. However, the role of these peptide receptors in critical developmental phases has not yet been thoroughly investigated. Scientists of the junior research group Neurocircuit Development and Function at DIfE have investigated this question and studied the expression patterns of key receptors in the mouse hypothalamus. Their newly obtained findings have been published in the journal PLOS One.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Deficiency in certain brain proteins promotes compulsive behavior

Our behavior is controlled through neural circuits in the brain. Molecular disturbances can lead to stereotypical behavior, as seen in neuropsychiatric disorders like obsessive-compulsive and autism spectrum disorders. A research team has now demonstrated that the absence of two proteins, Intersectin1 and Intersectin2, in mice leads to disrupted neural signaling and compulsive repetitive behavior, which is also observed in patients with Intersectin 1 mutations. This supports the idea that such defects can cause neuropsychiatric diseases. The study is published in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences“.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

“Viral relicts” in the Genome Could Fuel Neurodegeneration

Genetic remnants of viruses that are naturally present in the human genome could affect the development of neurodegenerative diseases. Researchers at DZNE come to this conclusion on the basis of studies on cell cultures. They report on this in the journal “Nature Communications”. In their view, such “endogenous retroviruses” could contribute to the spread of aberrant protein aggregates – hallmarks of certain dementias – in the brain. Thus, these viral relicts would be potential targets for therapies.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Anti-obesity drug improves associative learning in people with obesity

Liraglutide benefits brain activity in people with obesity

Obesity leads to altered energy metabolism and reduced insulin sensitivity of cells. The so-called „anti-obesity drugs“ are increasingly used to treat obesity and have caused tremendous interest, especially in the USA. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research in Cologne, Germany, have now shown in people with obesity that reduced insulin sensitivity affects learning of sensory associations. A single dose of the anti-obesity drug liraglutide was able to normalise these changes and restore the underlying brain circuit function.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

A New Ally in Fighting Brain Diseases: Our Very Own Skull

Alzheimer’s, stroke, multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases cause severe damage due to neuroinflammation mediated by immune cells. Managing this inflammation poses a significant medical challenge because the brain is protected by the skull and additional surrounding membranes that make the brain less accessible for treatment approaches.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Fighting brain cancer

Glioblastomas are among the most aggressive kinds of brain tumors. Even immunotherapy treatments that have proved effective against other cancers seem to be powerless against them. Researchers at the University of Basel and University Hospital Basel have now described how to improve the immune system’s chances against this type of tumor.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

LIONESS: Microscopy of Live Brain Tissue made Possible by Deep Learning and Enhanced Optics

In a new paper published today in the journal Nature Methods, an interdisciplinary team of scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA) has come together to present a new way to observe the brain’s structure and dynamics – in a high resolution and without damaging the tissue.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Die heilende Kraft der Kreativtherapie

Können kreative Therapien bei neurodegenerativen Erkrankungen des Gehirns, wie Schlaganfall und Alzheimer, helfen? Dieser Frage gehen die Neurobiologin Dr. Radwa Khalil von der Constructor University in Bremen und Prof. Vida Demarin, ehemalige Direktorin des International Institute for Brain Health in Zagreb, Kroatien, nach. Kürzlich haben sie ihre bisherigen Ergebnisse in der Fachzeitschrift CNS & Therapeutics veröffentlicht.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft