Volume 5.30 | Aug 3

Neural Cell News 5.30, August 3, 2011
     In this issue: Science News | Current Publications | Industry News | Policy News | Events
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Switching Off Serotonin-Producing Neurons
Researchers have developed a toolkit that enables them to turn off targeted cell populations while leaving others unaffected. [Press release from Harvard Medical School discussing online prepublication in Science]



Researchers Show How Memory Is Lost – And Found
A new study shows that the neural networks in the brains of the middle-aged and elderly have weaker connections and fire less robustly than in youthful ones. [Press release from Yale University discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Mice Point to a Therapy for Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
Researchers have developed a mouse model for Charcot-Marie-Tooth neuropathy, a hereditary disease of the peripheral nervous system. [Press release from VIB discussing online prepublication in Nature Medicine]

Scientist Converts Human Skin Cells into Functional Brain Cells
A scientist has discovered a novel way to convert human skin cells into brain cells, advancing medicine and human health by offering new hope for regenerative medicine and personalized drug discovery and development. [Press release from The J. David Gladstone Insitutes discussing online prepublication in Cell Stem Cell]

Social Deficits Associated with Autism, Schizophrenia Induced in Mice with New Technology
Researchers have been able to switch on, and then switch off, social-behavior deficits in mice that resemble those seen in people with autism and schizophrenia, thanks to a technology that allows scientists to precisely manipulate nerve activity in the brain. [Press release from the Stanford University School of Medicine discussing online prepublication in Nature]

Signal Explains Why Site of Origin Affects Fate of Postnatal Neural Stem Cells
New research may help to explain why the location of postnatal neural stem cells in the brain determines the type of new neurons that are generated. [Press release from EurekAlert! discussing online prepublication in Neuron]

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CURRENT PUBLICATIONS (Ranked by Impact Factor of the Journal)

Neocortical Excitation/Inhibition Balance in Information Processing and Social Dysfunction
Here researchers design and use several novel optogenetic tools to causally investigate the cellular E/I balance hypothesis in freely moving mammals, and explore the associated circuit physiology. [Nature]

Neuronal Basis of Age-Related Working Memory Decline
Study findings reveal the cellular basis of age-related cognitive decline in dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (PFC), and demonstrate that physiological integrity can be rescued by addressing the molecular needs of PFC circuits. [Nature]

Impaired Respiratory and Body Temperature Control Upon Acute Serotonergic Neuron Inhibition
To query brain serotonergic neurons in homeostasis, researchers used a neuronal silencing tool, mouse RC::FPDi (based on the synthetic G protein–coupled receptor Di), designed for cell type–specific, ligand-inducible, and reversible suppression of action potential firing. [Science]

Direct Reprogramming of Adult Human Fibroblasts to Functional Neurons under Defined Conditions
Here researchers show that a combination of a microRNA (miR-124) and two transcription factors (MYT1L and BRN2) is sufficient to directly reprogram postnatal and adult human primary dermal fibroblasts to functional neurons under precisely defined conditions. [Cell Stem Cell]

HDAC6 Inhibitors Reverse Axonal Loss in a Mouse Model of Mutant HSPB1–Induced Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease
The findings demonstrate the pathogenic role of α-tubulin deacetylation in mutant HSPB1–induced neuropathies and offer perspectives for using HDAC6 inhibitors as a therapeutic strategy for hereditary axonopathies. [Nat Med]

Phagocytic Activity of Neuronal Progenitors Regulates Adult Neurogenesis
Here, researchers identify an unexpected phagocytic role for the doublecortin-positive neuronal progenitor cells during adult neurogenesis. [Nat Cell Biol]

Persistent Sonic Hedgehog Signaling in Adult Brain Determines Neural Stem Cell Positional Identity
Researchers show that sonic hedgehog signaling, resulting in high gli1 levels, occurs in the ventral subventricular zone and is associated with the genesis of specific neuronal progeny. [Neuron]

Anatomical Coupling of Sensory and Motor Nerve Trajectory via Axon Tracking
It is a long-standing question how developing motor and sensory neuron projections cooperatively form a common principal grid of peripheral nerve pathways relaying behavioral outputs and somatosensory inputs. Here, researchers explored this issue through targeted cell lineage and gene manipulation in mouse, combined with in vitro live axon imaging. [Neuron]

Nitric Oxide Is an Activity-Dependent Regulator of Target Neuron Intrinsic Excitability
Here, investigators show that glutamatergic synaptic activity modulates target neuron excitability and switches the basis of action potential repolarization from Kv3 to Kv2 potassium channel dominance, thereby adjusting neuronal signaling between low and high activity states, respectively. [Neuron]

Neural Stem Cell Gene Therapy Ameliorates Pathology and Function in a Mouse Model of Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy
Murine neural stem cells, either naive or genetically modified to express supranormal levels of β-galactocerebrosidase, were transplanted into the brain of Twitcher mice, a murine model of Globoid Cell Leukodystrophy, a severe sphingolipidosis. [Stem Cells]


Project to Use Prison Research in Studying Neural Basis of Psychopathy
A researcher has received a $1.6 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health to use fMRI technology to examine the neural circuitry of criminal psychopaths. [The University of Chicago Press Release]

Anavex Presents Data on Neuroprotective Evidence for ANAVEX 2-73, Lead Compound for Alzheimer’s Disease
Neuroprotective, anti-amnesic, anti-depressive and anti-convulsive effects have previously been described with a new class of a wholly owned family of compounds, the aminotetrahydrofurans. In this study, two of the leads from this family, ANAVEX 2-73 and ANAVEX 1-41, were studied for their anti-amnesic and neuroprotective effects. [Anavex Life Sciences Corp. Press Release]

Neuralstem Awarded Department of Defense Contract for Brain Cancer Research
Neuralstem, Inc. announced it received a U.S. Department of Defense contract to develop its human neural stem cell technology for the treatment of cancerous brain tumors. [Neuralstem, Inc. Press Release]


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)

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