Slow brain repair seen in Huntington's. (Stem Cells).The human brain may struggle heroically, but in vain, to replace the nerve cells that die in Huntington's disease Huntington's disease, hereditary, acute disturbance of the central nervous system usually beginning in middle age and characterized by involuntary muscular movements and progressive intellectual deterioration; formerly called Huntington's chorea. , a New Zealand New Zealand (zē`lənd), island country (2005 est. pop. 4,035,000), 104,454 sq mi (270,534 sq km), in the S Pacific Ocean, over 1,000 mi (1,600 km) SE of Australia. The capital is Wellington; the largest city and leading port is Auckland. research team suggests.
Over the past few years, neuroscientists have been surprised to find that healthy, adult mammalian brains generate new nerve cells from so-called stem cells residing in select regions of the brain. It's unclear how important this ongoing neurogenesis neurogenesis /neu·ro·gen·e·sis/ (-jen´e-sis) the development of nervous tissue.
Formation of nervous tissue.
the development of nervous tissue. is, but some researchers have linked it to memory storage and other brain functions.
By studying the brains of people who died with Huntington's disease, Maurice A. Curtis of the University of Auckland Not to be confused with Auckland University of Technology.
The University of Auckland (Māori: Te Whare Wānanga o Tāmaki Makaurau) is New Zealand's largest university. in New Zealand and his colleagues have shown for the first time that neurogenesis also occurs during the course of this fatal disorder. Curtis' group found evidence of a protein called proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA PCNA Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
PCNA Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association
PCNA Pepsi Cola North America
PCNA Post Conflict Needs Assessment (United Nations)
PCNA Pudelpointer Club of North America ), which marks dividing cells, and a protein called class III betatubulin, which is specific to new nerve cells.
Moreover, the pace of neurogenesis seemed to correlate with the severity of a person's disease at death: The brains of people worst afflicted with Huntington's showed the most PCNA.
Apparently, says Curtis, brains besieged be·siege
tr.v. be·sieged, be·sieg·ing, be·sieg·es
1. To surround with hostile forces.
2. To crowd around; hem in.
3. by Huntington's can't generate new nerve cells fast enough to replace the dying ones. Or perhaps the new cells can't migrate to the damaged sites where they're needed. Ultimately, scientists aim to find ways of boosting the brain's own repair processes to counter Huntington's and related diseases, says Curtis.--J.T.