New perspective on brain function now possible

May 28, 2007

A newly started research collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and AstraZeneca has already generated results. For the first time, the conditions have been created to study one of the brain's most important neurotransmission systems – the glutamate system – in living people.

Glutamate is one of the most common neurotransmitters in the human brain and is involved in virtually all brain functions. But even though researchers' PET cameras can produce images of other important neurotransmission systems, such as the dopamine and serotonin systems, until now it has not been possible to capture images of the glutamate system. This is because there has not been any suitable tracer that can bind specifically to the receptors in the glutamate system.

In collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, AstraZeneca has now developed such a tracer, which makes it possible for the first time to study the glutamate system in the brains of living people.

"The glutamate system is an area of keen interest for research, especially for gaining an understanding of neuropsychiatric disorders," says Professor Lars Farde at Karolinska Institutet and AstraZeneca. "All anti-psychotic medicines currently available on the market work via the dopamine system, for example. However, it may well turn out that glutamate receptors are even better drug targets."

Within the framework of this same collaboration, a state-of-the-art PET camera has been purchased for use in both academic research and pharmaceutical development.

"The new PET camera will allow us to study the brain with a much higher richness of detail than previously," comments Professor Christer Halldin of Karolinska Institutet. "And thanks to the new tracer, we will be able to explore an entirely new neurotransmission system through high-resolution imaging."

Source: Karolinska Institutet

Explore further: The impact of bacteria in our guts

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

The impact of bacteria in our guts

52 minutes ago

The word metabolism gets tossed around a lot, but it means much more than whether you can go back to the buffet for seconds without worrying about your waistline. In fact, metabolism is the set of biochemical ...

Stem cell therapies hold promise, but obstacles remain

1 hour ago

(Medical Xpress)—In an article appearing online today in the journal Science, a group of researchers, including University of Rochester neurologist Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., review the potential and ch ...

New hope in fight against muscular dystrophy

2 hours ago

Research at Stockholm's KTH Royal Institute of Technology offers hope to those who suffer from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, an incurable, debilitating disease that cuts young lives short.

Biologists reprogram skin cells to mimic rare disease

20 hours ago

Johns Hopkins stem cell biologists have found a way to reprogram a patient's skin cells into cells that mimic and display many biological features of a rare genetic disorder called familial dysautonomia. ...

User comments : 0