The Death Of Neurons Could Result In The Decline Of Yourself

A neuron consists of a nerve cell that is the essential building block of the nervous system. Similar to that of other cells in the human body, these cells actually specialize in transmitting information throughout the body. They communicate information in both chemical and electrical forms. And researchers recently discovered the death of them can lead to the death of you.

Researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University Massey Cancer Center recently discovered a mechanism in which the most common form of brain cancer promotes the death of neurons. This process has become known as neurodegeneration. As a result of these findings, there is hope that it will lead to new therapies that can suppress neurodegeneration caused by the brain cancer.

The study reveals clear evidence of just how important neurons are and how detrimental and problematic they can become when hampered with. The research goes into great detail about how the oncogene, or the gene that has the ability to cause cancer, promotes neurodegeneration by increasing glutamate toxicity to neurons and impact brain fitness.

Glutamates are responsible for the transmission of signals between neurons and are crucial to the learning, development and memory of our brain. But if glutamates build up and create spaces between neurons, it can lead to neuron death.

As the first study of its kind, it shows researchers just how the link and the death of neurons could actually lead to a fatal kind of cancer for many. Gliomas is the most common brain tumor and the second leading cause of cancer death for adults between the ages of 20 to 39 years old. By identifying the importance of AEG-1 in brain cancer development, a new target for inhibiting this process can be found.

Scientists have equally identified the importance of understanding glutamate transport to better recognize other neurodegenerative diseases like glioma-induced neurodegeneration, Alzheimer’s and epilepsy as well.

The next step is to construct advanced animal models so researchers can further study the role of AEG-1 and glutamate in brain development and function. As soon as this is done, the models will allow the team to test the drugs identified in the small molecule screening process.

At the end of the day, the primary goal is to develop treatments for neurodegeneration that is caused by GBM and other diseases. And while it is a work in progress with much work to be done, the beginning steps are set up an extremely optimistic future.