The study may pave the way for the treatment of various acquired epilepsy and seizures resulting from trauma, infection, or brain damage in the brain.
Since 1893, scientists were familiar with mysterious structures, which were surrounded by perineuronal networks around the neurons, but the activities of these networks were unknown. Harald Sontheimer (Harald Sontheimer), a research scientist at Virginia University, however, decided that these nets would transform electrical impulses in the brain. In addition, they discovered that scenes could occur during the dissolution of the networks. The results of the work published in Nature Communications.
Initially, researchers found this finding in mice suffering from fatal brain cancer, glioblastoma, epilepsy, the first symptom of which is often seizures. Glioblastoma is the only space-limited cancer. Since skull prevents cancer from extending outwardly, the tumor produces excessive chemical excitatory neurotransmitter (glutamate), killing adjacent healthy cells to increase space.
In addition to glutamate, the tumor secretes the enzyme to destroy the surrounding extracellular matrix – a gel-like substance that keeps the brain cells in place. Glioblastomas are very malignant and are known to be spread in the body. The separated enzyme is a kind of knife that cuts cancer cells and allows them to move freely.
Surprisingly, researchers also discovered how the enzyme attacks the surrounding GABA-inhibitory neurons (Gamma aminobutyric acid) that helps to prevent seizures.
Italian neuroscientist Camillo Golgi (Camillo Golgi) found first the perineuronal network in 1893 but then he misunderstood their mission. Golgi called the network "corset" and said they were likely to block the exchange of messages between the neurons. The Sontheimer's investigation repeals this. On the contrary, the researcher stated that networks support communication. Neurons covered with perineuronal nets have lower membrane capacity and ability to store electrical charge, meaning that they can trigger the pulse and charge up to twice as fast as non-neuronal neurons.
When they suddenly lose their perineal network, the results may be catastrophic: using this enzyme without brain tumors, researchers found that the enzymatic breakdown of perineuronal networks was sufficient to cause seizures – even if neurons remained unchanged.
Now researchers focus on the role that perineuros networks can play in otherwise acquired epilepsy – for example, as a result of major injury or brain disease – that brings them closer to the creation of effective medicine.
"We have solved the secret of a 125-year-old neurology, such a basic science is to keep an open mind and mind and answer old and new questions," says Sontheimer.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy, one third of whom are not exposed to known anti-epileptics.
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