New protein regulates water in the brain to control inflammation
4, is making waves and found to play a key role in brain inflammation, or encephalitis. This discovery is important as the first to identify a role for this protein in inflammation, opening doors for the development of new drugs that treat brain inflammation and other conditions at the cellular level rather than just treating the symptoms. This discovery was published in the May 2011 issue of The FASEB Journal (http://www.faseb.org). "Our study establishes a novel role for a water channel, aquaporin-4, in neuroinflammation, as well as a cell-level mechanism," said Alan S. Verkman, M.D., Ph.D., a senior researcher involved in the work from the Department of Medicine and the Department of Physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. "Our data suggest that inhibition or down-regulation of aquaporin-4 expression in brain and spinal cord may offer a new therapeutic option in diseases such as multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica and other conditions associated with neuroinflammation."
Scientists compared normal mice and mice without genes for producing aquaporin-4 using a model of brain inflammation. These experiments showed significantly reduced brain inflammation in the mice that did not produce aquaporin-4. Researchers then systematically investigated the various possible causes of this reduced neuroinflammation and surprisingly found that aquaporin-4 deletion causes the brain to be less susceptible to inflammation, involving differences in astrocyte reaction to stress. The involvement of aquaporin-4 in brain inflammation provides a new determinant and better understanding of how the brain responses to inflammatory stresses. This suggests that using drugs or other agents that target this protein may be effective for treating a variety of conditions associated with brain or spinal cord inflammation.
"This a new lead in our efforts to stem inflammation in the brain," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. "The importance of water movement in and out of cells cannot be understated, and this paper helps to clarify what has otherwise been a muddy view of aquaporins."
- New protein regulates water in the brain to control inflammationfrom Science DailyMon, 2 May 2011, 15:30:35 EDT
- New protein regulates water in the brain to control inflammationfrom Science BlogMon, 2 May 2011, 14:30:26 EDT
- New protein regulates water in the brain to control inflammationfrom PhysorgMon, 2 May 2011, 14:20:13 EDT
Latest Science NewsletterGet the latest and most popular science news articles of the week in your Inbox! It's free!
Learn more about
Check out our next project, Biology.Net
From other science news sites
Popular science news articles
- Berkeley Lab study reveals molecular structure of water at gold electrodes
- Genomic data support early contact between Easter Island and Americas
- Paper-based synthetic gene networks could enable rapid detection of ebola and other viruses
- Helping sweet cherries survive the long haul
- No-till agriculture may not bring hoped-for boost in global crop yields, study finds
- POLARBEAR seeks cosmic answers in microwave polarization
- Thermal paper cash register receipts account for high bisphenol A (BPA) levels in humans
- UNH scientist: Cosmic rays threaten future deep-space astronaut missions
- Exploring X-Ray phase tomography with synchrotron radiation
- Secrets of dinosaur ecology found in fragile amber
- Laser-guided sea monkeys show how zooplankton migrations may affect global ocean currents
- Earth's water is older than the sun
- Preference for built-up habitats could explain rapid spread of the tree bumblebee in UK
- Tooth buried in bone shows prehistoric predators tangled across land, sea
- Simulations reveal an unusual death for ancient stars