Mapping receptors in the brain

Jeanne Therese Andres writes on a HOT Chemical Science article in Chemistry World

Scientists from the UK and Germany have developed new compounds that target and bind to brain proteins linked to serious neurological disorders. By acting as markers, these compounds enhance the contrast of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to show the location of receptors.
Receptor proteins on the surface of brain cells interact with specific chemicals to induce a neural response. The glutamate receptor N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) plays a key role in memory, learning and neurotransmission. Misregulation and overstimulation of NMDA receptors has been associated with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Neuroscientists and psychologists have been trying to find evidence of this link at a molecular level, but current diagnostic and imaging tools are still relatively crude.

David Parker and Anurag Mishra at Durham University, and colleagues, have synthesised a series of novel MRI contrast agents that can pinpoint NMDA receptors in vitro, effectively mapping the location…

Read the full article in Chemistry World»

Read the original journal article in Chemical Science:
Responsive MR-imaging probes for N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors and direct visualisation of the cell-surface receptors by optical microscopy
Neil Sim, Sven Gottschalk, Robert Pal, Jörn Engelmann, David Parker and Anurag Mishra  
Chem. Sci., 2013, 4, 3148-3153
DOI: 10.1039/C3SC50903F

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