THE KOREA TIMES 2005.1.31
By Kim Tae-gyu / Staff Reporter
South Korean scientists have for the first time discovered genes tasked with protecting brain nerves.
Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology professor Kim Jae-seob said Sunday the new genes, named pyrexia, shield brain nerves from outside stimuli, including high temperatures.
``The channel gene of pyrexia will open the door to developing new-concept medicines for brain damage in patients of high fever or drug addicts,’’ he said.
The channel gene refers to transport proteins, which provide a static passageway for a variety of essential substances to enter into cells.
``Up until now, a lot of channel genes activated by temperatures have been identified. But among them, pyrexia is first that guards brain nerves from external stresses,’’ Kim said.
Kim’s team learned pyrexia plays a pivotal role in the body through experiments with genetically engineered flies that did not have any pyrexia.
Up to 60 percent of the pyrexia-depleted mutants were paralyzed within three minutes of exposure to a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius.
In comparison, just 9 percent of normal flies were paralyzed with the same stimulus, indicating pyrexia is responsible for protecting animals from high-temperature stress.
``Our next goal is to develop pyrexia-embedded drugs, which can be expected to commercially debut in about five years,’’ Kim said.
Kim has already applied for international patents for his medical breakthrough, which will be printed in the March edition of Nature Genetics, a science journal.
Korean scientists for the first time have identified a gene that blocks nerve damage from fevers and the use of narcotics, a state-run research institute said yesterday. The finding may open the way for new medicine that can prevent the loss of brain function which is frequently caused by excessive stimulation of nerves and abnormally high body temperature. "The research is in an early stage. But this approach has the potential to develop genetics-based preventatives against brain-attacking2005-02-02