Researchers have identified a unique population of astrocytes in the dorsal horn of the spinal cord of mice that produces pain hypersensitivity when activated by neurons carrying signals down from the brain. The findings indicate that the role of descending neurons in controlling spinal pain transmission is not limited to suppression and point to this group of astrocytes as a new target for enhancing the effect of chronic pain treatments.
POSTECH-Stanford joint research team develops multimodal ion-electronic skin that distinguishes temperature from mechanical stimuli. This skin can detect various movements and is applicable in fields including humanoid skin and temperature sensors.
Understanding how the clear, watery substance flows through the brain could yield new insights into health and disease.
A bird-catching Chinese tarantula bite contains a stinger-like poison that plunges into a molecular target in the electrical signaling system of their prey's nerve cells. New cryo-electron microscopy studies show how this venom traps the voltage sensors of sodium channels in a resting state so they can't be activated. Such research may suggest designs for better drugs for chronic pain.
Though neurodegenerative diseases are becoming more common in today's aging societies, the exact way in which accumulated abnormal proteins become toxic to neurons is unknown. In a recent study conducted at Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology, Korea, scientists have discovered a new mechanism of action by which these abnormal proteins actually unlock the normally latent toxicity of native proteins. Their results represent a completely new avenue toward the development of effective therapies.
In new research, Judith Steen, Ph.D. and colleagues at Boston Children's Hospital show for the first time that a pathological form of the tau protein involved in the progression of Alzheimer's disease changes over time due to chemical modifications. Observed in brain tissue from Alzheimer's patients, the modified tau forms correlated with stages of dementia. These discoveries likely mean it will take multiple drugs to target the tau protein effectively.
BU researchers were able to artificially dampen fear responses in mice and mitigate addiction-related behaviors.
Hormones are the master regulators of sexual functions in mammals. The hormone oxytocin has a well-established role in social bonding, sexual function, maternal instinct, nursing, and lactation. Researchers from Okayama University have now explored the roles of oxytocin in male sexual function for the first time. Findings from the study suggest that oxytocin-mediated control of male sexual function via the spinal cord may in fact be instrumental in treating erectile dysfunction.
COVID-19 can directly cause neurologic symptoms and long-term neurological disease. Elevations of blood biomarkers indicative of brain injury have been reported in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of COVID-19 patients. Clinical application of blood biomarkers to improve medical management of COVID-19 patients
Brain or spinal cord injury often results in glial scar tissue that is correlated to neural functional loss. Glial scar is a well-known obstacle for neural regeneration. A research team led by Prof. Gong Chen at Jinan University, Guangzhou, published an article in the current issue of Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, demonstrating that glial scar tissue can be reversed back to neuronal tissue through NeuroD1-based neuroregenerative gene therapy.