Volume 5.15 | Apr 20

Neural Cell News 5.15, April 20, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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TOP STORY

Johns Hopkins Scientists Discover ‘Thunder’ Protein that Regulates Memory Formation
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered in mice a molecular wrecking ball that powers the demolition phase of a cycle that occurs at synapses and whose activity appears critical for both limiting and enhancing learning and memory. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in Cell]

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SCIENCE NEWS

Tinnitus Caused by Too Little Inhibition of Brain Auditory Circuits, Pitt-led Study Says
Tinnitus is the result of under-inhibition of key neural pathways in the brain’s auditory center, according to scientists. [Press release
from the University of Pittsburgh School of the Health Sciences discussing online prepublication in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences]

Rising Star of Brain Found to Regulate Circadian Rhythms
The circadian system that controls normal sleep patterns is regulated by astrocytes, according to a study. [Press release from Tufts
University School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Current Biology]

Brain Shrinkage May Indicate Alzheimer’s Disease
Subtle differences in brain anatomy among older individuals with normal cognitive skills may be able to predict both the risk of developing
Alzheimer’s disease in the following decade and how quickly symptoms of dementia would develop. [Press release from Rush University Medical Center discussing online prepublication in Neurology]

Filters that Reduce ‘Brain Clutter’ Identified
McGill researchers suggest malfunctions in neurons that filter visual information may be responsible for diseases such as ADHD and
schizophrenia. [Press release from McGill University discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

Experimental Alzheimer’s Disease Drugs Might Help Patients With Nerve Injuries
According to a new Johns Hopkins study, experimental compounds originally designed to combat a protein that builds up in Alzheimer’s-addled
brains appear to make crushed or cut nerve endings grow back significantly faster, a potential boon for those who suffer from neuropathies or traumatic injuries. [Press release from ScienceDaily discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

Researchers Rescue Nerve Cells in Spinal Cord Dysfunction
Researchers have identified a cell receptor, which is responsible for cell death in the spinal cord in a condition called Cervical
Spondylotic Myelopathy (CSM). The findings show that when the cell receptor was blocked, nerve cells were preserved, protecting against loss of motor function. [Press release from Newswise discussing online prepublication in Brain]

Identification of Protein Biomarkers Offers Promise for Advancing Treatment in Children with Deadly Brainstem Gliomas
Researchers studied the biology of pediatric brainstem glioma in an effort to advance treatment of this leading cause of brain tumor death in
children. [Press release from the American Association of Neurological Surgeons discussing research presented at the 79th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

The AAA+ ATPase Thorase Regulates AMPA Receptor-Dependent Synaptic Plasticity and Behavior
Here researchers describe and characterize the AAA+ ATPase Thorase, which regulates the expression of surface AMPA receptors. [Cell]

Activation of Dopamine Neurons is Critical for Aversive Conditioning and Prevention of Generalized Anxiety
Here researchers describe a mouse model in which activation of dopamine neurons in response to an aversive stimulus is attenuated by conditional genetic inactivation of functional NMDA receptors on dopamine neurons. [Nat Neurosci]

Strength of Response Suppression to Distracter Stimuli Determines Attentional-Filtering Performance in Primate Prefrontal Neurons
The results suggest that attentional-filtering performance in primates relies upon dorsolateral prefrontal cortex neurons’ ability to suppress distracter representations. [Neuron]

Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor Receptor 3 Directly Regulates Murine Neurogenesis
Here, researchers show that VEGFR-3, a receptor required for lymphangiogenesis, is expressed by neural stem cells and is directly required for neurogenesis. [Genes Dev]

Glial Cells Physiologically Modulate Clock Neurons and Circadian Behavior in a Calcium-Dependent Manner
Here, researchers show that conditional, glial-specific genetic manipulations affecting membrane (vesicle) trafficking, the membrane ionic gradient, or calcium signaling lead to circadian arrhythmicity in adult behaving Drosophila. [Curr Biol]

Human Neuropathological and Animal Model Evidence Supporting a Role for Fas-Mediated Apoptosis and Inflammation in Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy
Based on animal models of cervical spondylotic myelopathy and traumatic spinal cord injury, researchers hypothesized that Fas-mediated
apoptosis and inflammation may play an important role in the pathobiology of human cervical spondylotic myelopathy. [Brain]

Mice with Behavioral Evidence of Tinnitus Exhibit Dorsal Cochlear Nucleus Hyperactivity because of Decreased GABAergic Inhibition
Here, researchers developed an in vitro assay that allows us to evaluate the roles of excitation and inhibition in determining the neural correlates of tinnitus. [Proc Natl Acad Sci USA]

Alzheimer-Signature MRI Bimarker Predicts AD Dementia in Cognitively Normal Adults
Here researchers hypothesized that the “disease signature” of Alzheimer disease (AD)-related cortical thinning, previously identified in patients with mild AD dementia, would be useful as a biomarker to detect anatomic abnormalities consistent with AD in cognitively normal adults who develop AD dementia after longitudinal follow-up. [Neurology]

Reduced BACE1 Activity Enhances Clearance of Myelin Debris and Regeneration of Axons in the Injured Peripheral Nervous System
Researchers report that BACE1 knock-out and wild-type nerves degenerated at a similar rate after axotomy and to a similar extent in the experimental neuropathies produced by administration of paclitaxel and acrylamide. [J Neurosci]

Control of Neural Stem Cell Survival by Electroactive Polymer Substrates
Here researchers show that polypyrrole, a commonly used conducting polymer, can be tailored to modulate survival and maintenance of rat fetal neural stem cells. [PLoS ONE]


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INDUSTRY NEWS

Jack Griffin, Nerve Disorder Expert And Researcher, Dies
Jack Griffin, an internationally acclaimed and admired expert on diseases of the peripheral nervous system, founding director of the Johns Hopkins Brain Science Institute, and former director of Hopkins School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology, died Saturday, April 16, after a long battle with bladder cancer. He was 69. [Johns Hopkins Medicine Press Release]

Collaboration to Explore Use of Neural Stem Cells to Treat Alzheimer’s
Frank LaFerla, director of UCI’s Institute for Memory Impairments and Neurological Disorders (UCI MIND) and a world-renowned leader in Alzheimer’s disease research, has partnered with StemCells Inc. to study the therapeutic potential of the Palo Alto-based company’s human neural stem cells. [University of California, Irvine Press Release]

Alzheimer’s Diagnostic Guidelines Updated for First Time in Decades
For the first time in 27 years, clinical diagnostic criteria for Alzheimer’s disease dementia have been revised, and research guidelines for earlier stages of the disease have been characterized to reflect a deeper understanding of the disorder. [National Institute on Aging Press Release]

MedGenesis Therapeutix Selects SynapCell for Key Preclinical Epilepsy Research
MedGenesis Therapeutix Inc., which develops and commercializes innovative treatments for patients with serious neurological diseases, has selected SynapCell to provide preclinical proof of concept for its lead product, GDNF, in chronic epilepsy. [MedGenesis Therapeutix Inc. Press Release]

Neuralstem Signs Memorandum of Understanding for Ischemic Stroke Program in China
Neuralstem, Inc. announced it has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BaYi Brain Hospital in Beijing, China. Under the agreement, BaYi Brain and Neuralstem will jointly prepare a clinical protocol for treatment of motor deficits due to ischemic stroke. [Neuralstem, Inc. Press Release]

POLICY NEWS

National Institutes of Health (United States)

Food and Drug Administration (United States)

Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (United States)

European Medicines Agency (European Union)

Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (United Kingdom)

Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)

EVENTS
NEW Gordon Research Conference: Neuroethology: Behavior, Evolution & Neurobiology
August 14-19, 2011
Easton, United States

Visit
our events page to see a complete list of events in the neural cell community.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES

Lab Technologist – Human Embryonic and Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (STEMCELL Technologies)

Research Position on Imaging Neurodegeneration (Singapore Bioimaging Consortium)

Tenure Track, Assistant/Associate Professor (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine)

Translational Neuroscience Scholars: Neurodegenerative and Neuromuscular Diseases (University of Minnesota)

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