Brains maintenance protein discovered

London: Scientists have discovered what they claim is a "maintenance" protein which helps keep nerve fibres, that transmit messages in brain, operating smoothly.

A team at the University of Edinburgh says the finding of the protein Nfasc186 can improve understanding of disorders such as epilepsy, dementia and stroke as in neurodegenerative disorders, electrical impulses from the brain are disrupted.

In their research, the scientists found that Nfasc186 is crucial for maintaining the health and function of segment of nerve fibres — called the axon initial segment — which controls transmission of messages within the brain.

They found that the axon initial segment (AIS) and the protein within it are important in ensuring the nerve impulse has the right properties to convey the message as it should, the`BBC`reported.

"Knowing more about how signals in the brain work will help us better understand neurodegenerative disorders and why, when these illnesses strike, the brain can no longer send signals to parts of the body," Prof Peter Brophy, who led the team, was quoted as saying.

Added Dr Matthew Nolan of the university`s Centre for Integrative Physiology, "At any moment tens of thousands of electrical impulses are transmitting messages between nerve cells in our brains. Identifying proteins that are critical for the precise initiation of these impulses will help unravel the complexities of how brains work and may lead to new insights into how brains evolved."