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Neurology

Enzyme Discovery Could Lead to New Treatments to Repair Brain Da

21 years, 3 months ago

8899  0
Posted on Nov 22, 2002, 5 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Researchers have found a way of allowing fully formed neurons to become plastic and adaptable again. The international team of researchers led by Dr. Tommaso Pizzorusso, of the Institute of Neuroscience in Pisa, Italy, found that an enzyme called chondroitinase-ABC is able to "unlock" the key to neuronal plasticity by targeting molecules called chondroitin sulphate proteglycans.

Researchers have found a way of allowing fully formed neurons to become plastic and adaptable again. The international team of researchers led by Dr. Tommaso Pizzorusso, of the Institute of Neuroscience in Pisa, Italy, found that an enzyme called chondroitinase-ABC is able to "unlock" the key to neuronal plasticity by targeting molecules called chondroitin sulphate proteglycans. These molecules work together with more than 20 other types of molecules to form a net around neurons in the visual cortex of the brain at the end of the window of plasticity. Once this net is in place neurons can no longer form connections with other neurons, thus breaking down the net should restore the neurons plasticity and ability to form new neurons. The next step, according to Pizzorusso, is to work out which of the 20 or so molecules inhibit plasticity in adult animals, and then find a way of targeting them. Similar nets are present throughout the central nervous system, thus the strategy could lead to a new way of treating different types of central nervous system damage.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Science 2002; 298:1248-1251

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