Monday, January 21, 2013

Potential to Prevent, Reverse Disabilities in Children Born Prematurely, Study Suggest

Potential to Prevent, Reverse Disabilities in Children Born Prematurely, Study Suggests

Jan. 17, 2013 — Physician-scientists at Oregon Health & Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital are challenging the way pediatric neurologists think about brain injury in the pre-term infant. In a study published online in the Jan. 16 issue of Science Translational Medicine, the OHSU Doernbecher researchers report for the first time that low blood and oxygen flow to the developing brain does not, as previously thought, cause an irreversible loss of brain cells, but rather disrupts the cells' ability to fully mature. This discovery opens up new avenues for potential therapies to promote regeneration and repair of the premature brain. 

When fetal brains are exposed to decreased oxygen and blood flow (hypoxia and ischemia), the neurons do not appear to mature normally. On the left is a tracing of a brain cell (neuron) from a control (Con) animal showing normal development of its complex branching pattern. On the right is a tracing of a neuron of the same age as the control, which was exposed to a brief period of hypoxia/ischemia (HI). This cell displays fewer processes and a simpler branch pattern. Thus, despite being the same age as the control animal, brain cells in the HI animal are more immature. (Credit: Oregon Health & Science University)

"As neurologists, we thought ischemia killed the neurons and that they were irreversibly lost from the brain. But this new data challenges that notion by showing that ischemia, or low blood flow to the brain, can alter the maturation of the neurons without causing the death of these cells. As a result, we can focus greater attention on developing the right interventions, at the right time early in development, to promote neurons to more fully mature and reduce the often serious impact of preterm birth. We now have a much more hopeful scenario," said Stephen Back, M.D., Ph.D., lead investigator and professor of pediatrics and neurology in the Papé Family Pediatric Research Institute at OHSU Doernbecher Children's Hospital.....

To read the rest of the article, please click on the above title.
To access the CDR Library catalog, please click on this link.

No comments: