Volume 5.26 | Jul 6

Neural Cell News 5.26, July 6, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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Investigators Develop Technique to Bypass iPSCs for Conversion of Human Fibroblasts to Dopaminergic Neurons
Researchers have developed a technique to convert mouse and human fibroblasts directly into dopaminergic neurons without having to first generate induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). [Press release from Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News discussing online prepublication in Nature]



A Role for Glia in the Progression of Rett Syndrome 
Research reveals that glia play a key role in preventing the progression of the most prominent Rett Syndrome symptoms displayed by mouse models of the disease: lethality, irregular breathing and apneas, hypoactivity and decreased dendritic complexity. [Press release from the Rett Syndrome Research Trust discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Scientists Use ‘Optogenetics’ to Control Reward-Seeking Behavior
Using a combination of genetic engineering and laser technology, researchers have manipulated brain wiring responsible for reward-seeking behaviors, such as drug addiction. [Press release from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Genetic “Conductor” Involved With New Brain Cell Production in Adults
A team of researchers has discovered more about how a gene connected to the production of new brain cells in adults does its job. [Press release from North Carolina State University discussing online prepublication in the Journal of Neuroscience]

‘Gifted’ Natural Vitamin E Tocotrienol Protects Brain Against Stroke In 3 Ways
A natural form of vitamin E called alpha-tocotrienol can trigger production of a protein in the brain that clears toxins from nerve cells, preventing those cells from dying after a stroke, new research shows. [Press release from Ohio State University discussing online prepublication in Stroke]

Researchers Identify Novel Approach for Promoting Remyelination and Inhibiting Autoimmune Activation as Potential Therapeutic Option for Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis
Biogen Idec announced results from a study that suggest that inhibiting death receptor-6 function may represent a novel approach in the treatment of multiple sclerosis by blocking autoimmune response while promoting remyelination. [Press release from Biogen Idec discussing online prepublication in Nature Medicine]

Overlooked Peptide Reveals Clues to Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
Researchers at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute and their collaborators have shed light on the function of a little-studied amyloid peptide in promoting Alzheimer’s disease. [Press release from the RIKEN Brain Science Institute discussing online prepublication in Nature Neuroscience]

A VIP for Normal Brain Development
A team of researchers has identified a signaling pathway key for normal brain development in the mouse. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in The Journal of Clinical Investigation]

Model of a Migraine Indicates Increased Neuronal Excitability as a Possible Cause
Researchers have developed a mouse model of familial hemiplegic migraine type 2 and used it to investigate the migraine’s cause. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in PLoS Genetics


CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

A Role for Glia in the Progression of Rett’s Syndrome
Here researchers show that in globally methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2)-deficient mice, re-expression of Mecp2 preferentially in astrocytes significantly improved locomotion and anxiety levels, restored respiratory abnormalities to a normal pattern, and greatly prolonged lifespan compared to globally null mice. [Nature]

Direct Generation of Functional Dopaminergic Neurons from Mouse and Human Fibroblasts
Here researchers identified a minimal set of three transcription factors—Mash1 (also known as Ascl1), Nurr1 (also known as Nr4a2) and Lmx1a—that are able to generate directly functional dopaminergic neurons from mouse and human fibroblasts without reverting to a progenitor cell stage. [Nature]

Excitatory Transmission from the Amygdala to Nucleus Accumbens Facilitates Reward Seeking
Here researchers show that optical stimulation of the pathway from the basolateral amygdala to the nucleus accumbens in mice reinforces behavioural responding to earn additional optical stimulation of these synaptic inputs. [Nature]

Functional Mapping of Single Spines in Cortical Neurons In Vivo
Here researchers used a new variant of high-resolution two-photon imaging to detect sensory-evoked calcium transients in single dendritic spines of mouse cortical neurons in vivo. [Nature]

Death Receptor 6 Negatively Regulates Oligodendrocyte Survival, Maturation and Myelination
Here researchers show that death receptor 6 is a negative regulator of oligodendrocyte maturation. [Nat Med]

Potent Amyloidogenicity and Pathogenicity of Aβ43
The findings indicate that Aβ43, an overlooked species, is potently amyloidogenic, neurotoxic and abundant in vivo. [Nat Neurosci]

VIP Blockade Leads to Microcephaly in Mice Via Disruption of Mcph1-Chk1 Signaling
Here, researchers have shown that the cortical abnormalities caused by prenatal VIP antagonist administration mimic the phenotype described in microcephaly (MCPH) patients and that VIP blockade during neurogenesis specifically disrupts Mcph1 signaling. [J Clin Invest]

Increased Susceptibility to Cortical Spreading Depression in the Mouse Model of Familial Hemiplegic Migraine Type 2
Researchers hypothesize that cortical spreading depression facilitation in the familial hemiplegic migraine type 2 mouse model is sustained by inefficient glutamate clearance by astrocytes and consequent increased cortical excitatory neurotransmission. [PLoS Genet]

Specification of a Foxj1-Dependent Lineage in the Forebrain Is Required for Embryonic-to-Postnatal Transition of Neurogenesis in the Olfactory Bulb
Researchers show that the development of the unique Foxj1-derived lineage is dependent on Foxj1 expression and is required for overall postnatal neurogenesis in the olfactory bulb. [J Neurosci]

Natural Vitamin E α-Tocotrienol Protects Against Ischemic Stroke by Induction of Multidrug Resistance-Associated Protein 1
This work addresses a novel molecular mechanism by which α-Tocotrienol may be protective against stroke in vivo. [Stroke]


Acorda Therapeutics Licenses Rights to Investigational Treatment for Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury
Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. announced that it has licensed worldwide development and commercialization rights to a proprietary magnesium formulation from Medtronic, Inc., which will be referred to as AC105. [Acorda Therapeutics, Inc. Press Release]

EMD Serono, Inc. and Fast Forward, LLC Announce Recipients of Funding for Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Research
EMD Serono, Inc., and Fast Forward, LLC, announced the second group of recipients to receive funding through their collaboration, which is designed to speed research advances in mutually selected, high potential areas of MS research. [EMD Serono, Inc. Press Release]

EnVivo Announces Initiation of Gamma Secretase Modulator Clinical Program in Alzheimer’s Disease
EnVivo Pharmaceuticals, announced that it recently initiated a Phase 1 clinical trial of EVP-0962, its potent and selective gamma secretase modulator, in healthy volunteers. [EnVivo Pharmaceuticals Press Release]

ReNeuron Extends Contract Manufacturing Arrangements with Angel Biotechnology for its ReN001 Stroke Therapy
ReNeuron announces that it has signed a new contract with Angel Biotechnology for development and GMP manufacturing services in support of its development programme for its ReN001 stem cell therapy for stroke. [ReNeuron Press Release]


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European Medicines Agency (European Union)

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Therapeutic Goods Administration (Australia)


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