Researchers at the Pittsburgh University; have recently uncovered the mechanism by which neurons maintain the process of simultaneous sending of signals to other neurons. The new findings that were made in mice and fruit flies are challenging the existing principle about how the chemical signals that are released by the neurons; dopamine communicates. These may have important associations for many of the dopamine-related diseases, including the Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, and addiction.
It is discovered that the neurons communicate with one another by releasing some chemicals known as neurotransmitters, like as dopamine and glutamate chemicals. These chemicals are spread over smaller spaces that are developed between neurons and are called a synapse. These neurotransmitters that are awaiting release are housed in small sacs that are called as synaptic vesicles.
The senior study author Zachary Freyberg stated- “Our findings demonstrate, for the first time, that neurons can change how much dopamine they release as a function of their overall activity. When this mechanism malfunctions, it could lead to serious effects on health,” Freyberg is M.D., Ph.D., who has recently joined Pittsburgh University as an assistant professor. He actually initiated the research when he was at the Columbia University.
Freyberg also stated that- “Our findings were completely unexpected”. “They contradict the existing principle that a fixed amount of chemical signal is loaded into a vesicle at any given time, and that vesicle acidity is finite.”
For the future, the team is planning to look at how the how increases in vesicle acidification affect the health. However, the number of brain diseases are characterized by abnormal dopamine neuron signaling and the modified levels of the neurotransmitter.
At last, Freyberg stated- “Since we have determined that the balance between glutamate and dopamine is important for governing the amount of dopamine that a neuron releases, it makes sure that an imbalance between the two neurotransmitters could be supervising to the symptoms in such diseases”.