our brain has an amazing plasticity. In particular, it has the ability to modify its neural connections in order to adapt to new situations. Of the biochemists from Stanford University, Colorado State University, University at Buffalo and California State University have successfully change the way the brain communicates with himself. These works have marked a new step forward in research on brain function.
Indeed, a better knowledge of this brain function will allow scientists to study certain disorders neural and understand how it works. This discovery could then contribute greatly to help research on brain diseases.
In particular, it paves the way for new therapeutic methodss to treat brain diseases caused by synaptic dysfunctions.
A major advance in the understanding of synapses
A person owns about 100 billion neurons which communicate with each other through synapses. These tiny specialized junctions emit rapid electrical signals by releasing chemicals called neurotransmitters. The brain has two antagonistic groups: the synapses exciters “and the synapses” inhibitory“.
However, no one can explain the structure exactof these synapses nor the nature of their chemical mediators . American biochemists have managed to understand how these synapses work thanks to enzymes . In particular, they were able to demonstrate that it is the chemical substances produced by the synapses that determine the nature of the exchanges between neurons, and give them either an inhibitory or an excitatory function.
Enzymes to reprogram synapses
The American researchersused enzymes to edit how brain cells interact with each other . They then managed to modify synapsesfrom excitatory type to inhibitory synapses using a particular type of enzyme. The latter induces a cascade of changes in the synapse machinery.
Such a breakthrough could have major implications for the treatment of diseases of the brain caused bysynaptic dysfunctions. Indeed, millions of people around the world neednew treatmentsto fight against Parkinson’s disease, autism, epilepsy or myasthenia gravis.