Lab Notes

Lab Notes

MBI researchers shed light on process of neurodegeneration

UF neuroscientists have made progress in understanding neurodegeneration in disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. The team, led by Paramita Chakrabarty, Ph.D., an assistant professor of neuroscience in the UF College of Medicine, and Benoit Giasson, Ph.D., a professor of neuroscience in the UF College of Medicine, used a mouse model to examine the spread of protein clumps that are involved in neurodegenerative diseases. They explored how glial cells may be responsible for the spread of the disease. They had two key findings: The spread of the protein appears to not be restricted to neuronal cells but involves supporting glial cells, and it doesn’t follow a precise anatomical route. — Michelle Koidin Jaffee

Common antibiotics do not raise risk of Type 1 diabetes, celiac disease in children

Antibiotics do not raise the risk of Type 1 diabetes or celiac disease among children who have a genetic susceptibility for developing those diseases, multinational researchers, including Eric Triplett, Ph.D., chair of the department of microbiology and cell science at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, have found. They analyzed 8,495 children who were at risk for Type 1 diabetes, and 6,558 children who at risk for celiac disease, all of whom had been prescribed antibiotics before the age of 4. They found 5.5 percent of the children developed antibodies for Type 1 diabetes and 11.6 percent had celiac disease autoimmunity. However, exposure to antibiotics was not associated with the development of the antibodies, the researchers said. Triplett said it is important to learn how antibiotics might influence Type 1 diabetes and celiac disease because the medications have been suggested as a cause for the rising rate of autoimmune diseases in industrialized nations. — Doug Bennett

Premature babies gain helpful bacterium by breast-feeding, UF researchers find

A beneficial bacterium in breast-fed babies has been shown to protect newborn mice from an intestinal disease that also affects premature infants, UF researchers say. The bacterium lowers inflammation that leads to necrotizing enterocolitis, which destroys intestinal tissue and kills many premature infants. The team collected microorganisms from 40 premature infants, half of whom received breast milk and the rest only baby formula. When the microorganisms were transplanted into mice, the breast-fed infants’ microbes produced a protective effect. Microbes from formula-fed infants produced more inflammation along with fewer infection-fighting and regulatory cells. —  Doug Bennett