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Sphingolipids and brain, when friends become foes

Lipids constitute approximately half of the dry weight of the brain, their composition and quantity can vary throughout life and generic defects in their synthesis or metabolism can lead to impaired brain development and neurodegenerative disorders, both in children and adults. However, we do not know everything about lipids and it is not surprising that […]

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Small-molecule cocktails can convert fibroblasts into functional neurons

Last August, the cover of the prestigious journal Cell Stem Cell, was dedicated to a pioneering discovery made by two independent groups that obtained functional neuron cells from human and mouse fibroblasts cultured with a cocktail of several small molecules. This finding may position these Chinese researchers at the cutting edge of translational and regenerative […]

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Pharmacological chaperones, a new mechanism to protect tyrosine hydroxylase from degradation

Tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) is an enzyme that converts the amino acid L-tyrosine into the neurotrasmitter L-DOPA, fundamental for the normal functioning of the nervous system. Mutations in the gene that codes for TH cause a reduction in enzyme activity and are associated to disorders like tyrosine hydroxylase deficiency (THD), Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. For […]

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Gut microbes induce serotonin production

We know, thanks to years of investigation, that our intestine is populated by 1-2 kilograms of microorganisms, almost the equivalent of an average human brain. We also know that this living and transforming universe is critical for digestion of food, regulation of immune system, response to drugs and susceptibility to disease. Recently, amazing data indicate […]

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