Nerves

  • An injectable guidance system for nerve cells

    Dr.-Ing. Laura De Laporte and PhD student Jonas Rose analyze the orientation of nerve cells (red) along the paths provided by gel rods (green). J. Hillmer, DWI

    In many tissues of the human body, such as nerve tissue, the spatial organization of cells plays an important role. Nerve cells and their long protrusions assemble into nerve tracts and transport information throughout the body. When such a tissue is injured, an accurate spatial orientation of the cells facilitates the healing process. Scientists from the DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in Aachen developed an injectable gel, which can act as a guidance system for nerve cells. They recently published their results obtained from cell culture experiments in the journal ‚Nano Letters‘.

  • Extensive Funding for Research on Chromatin, Adrenal Gland, and Cancer Therapy

    Source: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)

    At the end of May, the Joint Committee of the German Research Foundation (DFG) decided on the funding for Collaborative Research Centers (Sonderforschungsbereiche, SFBs). The Helmholtz Zentrum München is participating in three of the selected projects. A total of around 5.3 million euros will be distributed to the participating institutes over a period of four years starting on July 1.

    The funding allows close transregional cooperation among universities and their researchers as well as networking and shared use of the resources. The DFG has a total of just under 600 million euros available in its annual budget for CRC/TRR projects. The DFG will consequently be funding a total of 267 Collaborative Research Centres starting in July 2017.

  • First-Ever “Live” Observation of Formation and Repair of Myelin Sheaths Around Nerve Fibers

    Still from time-lapse video of myelin growing around axons. (c) Technical University of Munich

    Nerve fibers are surrounded by a myelin sheath. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now made the first-ever “live” observations of how this protective layer is formed. The team discovered that the characteristic patterns of the myelin layer are determined at an early stage. However, these patterns can be adjusted as needed in a process apparently controlled by the nerve cells themselves.

  • Neurological Disease in Mice and Humans Linked to an Unlikely Gene

    Composition of two mouse brain sections: left the brain of a healthy, juvenile mouse, right the equivalent without Vps15. Scientists linked this gene to defects in brain development. IMP

    Screening for mutations influencing the migration of nerve cells in mice, scientists found a gene that plays a role in the transport of proteins within nerve cells. If less of the protein is present in the developing mouse, the scientists found that its brain showed severe defects. Investigating the situation in humans, they discovered that a mutation of the same gene underlies neural degeneration.

  • Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

    At the start of the project the N2B consortium met at Fraunhofer IGB in Stuttgart. Fraunhofer IGB

    Over the next few years, in a research project funded by the EU, an international consortium is developing a new technology for a better treatment of multiple sclerosis. The idea of the innovative “Nose2Brain” approach is to transport a special active substance directly through the nose into the central nervous system. For this purpose, the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB is working on an active ingredient formulation which is introduced direct into the Regio olfactoria by means of a special applicator and which can release the active ingredient there over a prolonged period of time.

  • Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

    Trigeminal neuralgia: A glimmer of hope for patients – thanks to a newly tested substance. Picture: Center of Dental Medicine; UZH

    Trigeminal neuralgia is characterized by sharp, lancinating pain in the teeth or facial area. The standard treatment for this chronic nerve pain can cause burdening side effects. A novel substance inhibits the pain effectively and is well tolerated, as documented by the initial results of an international study involving the Center of Dental Medicine at the University of Zurich. The sharp pain shoots to the face or teeth and seriously torments patients. Known as trigeminal neuralgia, it is one of the worst chronic nerve pains.

  • Protecting the Neuronal Architecture

    Illustration_1: Stroke leads to a reduction of VEGFD levels, loss of dendrites, brain damage, and impaired motor functions. As research on a mouse model has shown, VEGFD-based therapies can prevent structural disintegration, thereby facilitating functional recovery. Heidelberg University

    Protecting nerve cells from losing their characteristic extensions, the dendrites, can reduce brain damage after a stroke. Neurobiologists from Heidelberg University have demonstrated this by means of research on a mouse model. The team, led by Prof. Dr Hilmar Bading in cooperation with Junior Professor Dr Daniela Mauceri, is investigating the protection of neuronal architecture to develop new approaches to treating neurodegenerative diseases. The current research findings were published in the journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

  • Slimy and smart - uncovered

    A small drop of liquid nutrient stimulant on the network of a slime mold, Physarum polycephalum. © Natalie Andrew

    Researchers from Göttingen and the US discover fundamentals of complex behavior of slime molds.

    A team including Dr. Karen Alim, head of the Max Planck Research Group on Biological Physics and Morphogenesis at the Göttingen Max Planck Institute for Dynamics und Self-Organization, and her colleagues from Harvard und Madison have discovered the mechanism underlying the slime mold’s (Physarum polycephalum) complex behavior, work just published in the recent issue of Proceedings of the National Academy (PNAS). Their discovery: Despite lacking a nervous system, a simple feedback allows the network-forming slime mold to find the shortest path through a maze.