Fresh hope for Huntington`s sufferers
Washington: A new study has found that potassium boost improves walking in mouse model of Huntington's disease.
The study, which is conducted by UCLA, could point to new drug targets for treating the devastating disease that strikes one in every 20,000 Americans.
According to the researchers, tweaking a specific cell type's ability to absorb potassium in the brain improved walking and prolonged survival in the mouse.
Baljit Khakh, a professor of physiology and neurobiology, said that astrocytes appear in the brain in equal numbers to neurons, which enable neurons to signal each other by maintaining an optimal chemical environment outside the cell.
He said that boosting Kir4.1, a protein that allows the astrocyte to take in potassium through the cell membrane, in the astrocytes improved the mice's ability to walk properly.
The study was published in the online edition of Nature Neuroscience.
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