Loss of nerve function can lead to debilitating, and sometimes fatal, illness. So it's crucial to find new ways to boost communication between these cells. One team of researchers has focused on the transporters that deal with glutamate, the principle excitatory neurotransmitter in the nervous system. Their paper, published in the 06 Jan 05 issue of Nature (Vol. 432, No. 7021, pp. 73-77), explains how to produce more transporters for glutamate, and gives hope for preventing nerve failure.
Jeffrey Rothstein and his colleagues show that certain types of antibiotics can make this happen. Moreover, they reveal that the antibiotics do this by activating the right gene to generate more of the glutamate transporter. The scientists explain that transporter expression in mice increases using this method.
Rothstein and his fellow researchers demonstrate that using the antibiotics delayed the loss of neurons in the animal model of the fatal disease ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The finding reveals unexpected neuroprotective properties of these drugs.
Jeffrey Rothstein (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA)
Tel: +1 410 614 3846
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza
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