Since 1893, scientists knew about mysterious structures called perineuronal nets wrapped around neurons, but the functions of these networks remained unknown.
This is written by naked-science.ru.
However, a group of scientists from the University of Virginia headed by Harald Sontheimer (Harald Sontheimer) found that these nodes modulate electrical impulses in the brain. Moreover, they discovered that seizures may occur in the event of a network being disrupted. The results are published in the journal Nature Communications.
Initially, researchers made this discovery in mice suffering from epilepsy caused by deadly brain cancer, glioblastoma, whose first symptoms are often convulsions. Glioblastoma is the only cancer that is limited in space. Since lubricant blocks extracorporeal cancer, the tumor produces an excess of excitatory chemical neurotransmitter (glutamate) that kills adjacent healthy cells to allow growth space.
Apart from glutamate, the tumor secretes an enzyme that aims to destroy the surrounding extracellular matrix-gel-like substance that holds the brain cells in place. Glioblastomas are very malignant and are known to be spread in the body. The secreted enzyme is a type of knife that reduces cancer cells, allowing them to move freely.
To their surprise, scientists have also noticed that the enzyme attacks perineuronal nets wrapped around GABA-inhibiting neurons (Gamma-aminobutyric acid), which help to prevent seizures.
Italian neuroscientist Camillo Golgi (Camillo Golgi) first discovered in 1893 a perinate network but misunderstood their function. Golgi called the "corset" network and said they were most likely to prevent the exchange of messages between neurons. Sontheimer's research is rejecting it. The scientist, on the other hand, discovered that the network supports messaging. Neurons covered by perineuronal nets have lower membrane capacity and the ability to store electrical charges, meaning they can boost the pulse and fill up twice faster than non-neural neurons.
When they suddenly lose their perineurotic networks, the results may be catastrophic: by using this enzyme in a brain without tumors, scientists have seen that most of the enzymatic degeneration of perineurotic networks is enough to trigger the attack – even when neurons remain intact.
Now the attention of researchers is directed at the role that perineural networks can play in other forms of acquired epilepsy – for example, as a result of head injury or brain infection – that will bring them closer to creating an effective drug.
"We have solved the 125-year-old secret of neurology. It's a fundamental science to keep an open and cautious mind responding to old and new issues," says Sontheimer.
According to the World Health Organization, more than 50 million people worldwide suffer from epilepsy, some of whom are not subject to known antiepileptic procedures.
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