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Enzyme once thought harmful to Alzheimers patients now appears key to future treatment

peptide was undertaken in the cholinergic basal forebrain. A team of researchers investigated the actions of galanin on acutely dissociated rat cholinergic basal forebrain neurons from the nucleus of the diagonal band of Broca (DBB) using a combination of whole cell patch-clamp and single-cell reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis.

The authors of "Novel Excitatory Actions of Galanin on Rat Cholinergic Basal Forebrain Neurons: Implications for Its Role in Alzheimer's Disease," are Jack H. Jhamandas, Kim H. Harris, David MacTavish, and Balvinder S. Jassar, all from the Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Their findings appear in the current edition of The American Physiological Societys Journal of Neurophysiology.

Methodology
Brains were quickly removed from decapitated male rats and placed in cold artificial cerebrospinal fluid that contained a mixed solution. Brain slices were cut and the area containing the DBB was dissected out. Although most of the tissue contained the horizontal limb of the DBB, some slices may have included a component of the vertical limb of the DBB.

Acutely dissociated neurons were prepared by enzymatic treatment of slice with trypsin, followed by mechanical conversion to a fine powder for dispersion of individual cells. Cells were then plated on poly-L-lysine-coated cover slips and viewed under an inverted microscope. All solutions were kept oxygenated by continuous bubbling with pure oxygen.

Results
The findings provide the first electrophysiological evidence that the neuropeptide galanin causes a response from central neurons found in mammals. Activation of galanin receptors results in membrane depolarization and an increase in excitability of basal forebrain neurons, which is related in part, through its effects in reducing specific voltage- and calcium-dependent potassium conductances. Furthermore,
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Contact: Donna Krupa
djkrupa1@aol.com
703-527-7357
American Physiological Society
14-Mar-2002


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