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Are Stiff Muscles Good for your Brain?

PRX-Brain-Power-300x234Lactate is usually associated with muscle stiffness. Now it's proven that it actually protects the brain's white matter.

The white matter of the brain consists mainly of nerve fibres that connect the different parts of the brain together and lead the electric nerve signals up and down the spine. The electrical signals move fast due to the protective myelin – the fatty layer around the nerve fibres.

By examining brain slices from mice, a group of Norwegian and British researchers found that physiological concentrations of sugar is not enough to keep the oligodendrocytes, the myelin forming cells alive. Application of lactate to the brain slices did, however, rescue the cells and preserve the myelin. The findings are the result of a collaboration between scientists at University College London and the Nansen Neuroscience Network members Johanne Egge Rinholm and Linda H. Bergersen (head of the Brain and Muscle Energy Group, Centre for Molecular Biology and Neuroscience, UiO).

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The image on the left shows that mouse brain slices that were cultured in
physiological concentrations of sugar had abnormally low myelin (red-pink colour).
The image on the right shows that the supply of lactate increased the amount of
myelin up to normal levels. (Photo: Johanne Egge Rinholm)

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