In recent studies, biologists have discovered how head injuries adversely affect individual cells and genes that can lead to serious brain disorders.
Researchers at the University of California have studied over 6,000 cells in 15 types of hippocampal cells – the first to study individual types of cells that have undergone brain trauma. Each cell has the same DNA, but which genes are activated, differ depending on the type of cells. Among the 15 cell types there are two previously unknown ones, each of which has a unique set of active genes.
Researchers form the first cell of the hippocampus 'atlas' – a part of the brain that helps regulate learning and memory – when it is affected by traumatic brain injury. The team also proposed gene candidates for the treatment of brain diseases associated with brain injuries such as Alzheimer's disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.
"Every cell type is different," said Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, co-writer of the publication, published in the journal Nature Communications.
Biologists have found that hundreds of genes are adversely affected by mild traumatic brain injury, such as concussion. These altered genes may later lead to Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other diseases.
Researchers repeated brain injuries similar to concussions in mice and examined other mice that had not suffered brain trauma. Researchers analyzed thousands of cells in the hippocampus of both groups of mice.
Mice without damage had a very low level in 14 of 15 types of gene cells called TTR, which regulates metabolism, controls thyroid hormones and performs other functions. The damage to the brain increased the level of Ttr in basically all types of cells, the researchers said. They found that TTR is important for brain health and can work to bring more thyroid hormone to the brain to maintain metabolism. Thyroid hormone T4 was injected into the mice. T4 improved traumatic deficits caused by brain damage and reversed changes in 93 genes that affect learning and memory. This reversal of damage caused by brain injuries is the main new discovery. After brain injury, the metabolism is significantly reduced. Biologists believe that T4 can "restart" metabolism.
Researchers have found evidence that at least 12 of the 15 cell types are affected by brain injury, some more strongly than others. They were able to see how the genes were connected Alzheimer's disease worked in different cell types, providing new information about where these genes work when they are affected by brain trauma. "We learn the types of cells that we might want to target in future studies," said Xia Yang, senior author of the study. "It may be that genes associated with Alzheimer's disease do not have to be active in all types of cells."
For the first time, biologists have found several genes affected by traumatic brain injury that have recently been linked to neurotic behaviors in humans. Traumatic brain injury is associated with depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. These studies can lead to new treatments for these diseases.
(This story has not been modified by Business Standard employees and is generated automatically from the syndicated channel).