Scientists at the School of Medicine have implicated a specific molecule in the self-destruction of axons, the wiring of the nervous system. Understanding just how that damage occurs may help researchers find a way to halt it.
Using Washington University’s state-of-the-art zebrafish facility, scientists have identified a gene that helps regulate how well nerves of the central nervous system are insulated. The finding may have implications for human diseases such as multiple sclerosis, in which this insulation is lost.
New research suggests that certain types of brain cells may be “picky eaters,” seeming to prefer one specific energy source over others. The finding has implications for understanding the cognitive decline seen in aging and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
Many medical conditions destroy nerve axons, the long wires that transmit signals to other parts of the body. Now, researchers have found a way the body can remove injured axons, identifying a potential target for new drugs that could prevent the inappropriate loss of axons and maintain nerve function.