Monthly Archives: January 2011

Platelet activation

A previous blog post concerned the protein tissue factor and how rupture of blood vessel walls initiates fibrin clot formation. Platelets are cell fragments in the blood that normally lead a solitary existence, but they can quickly attach to damaged … Continue reading

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Fine-tuning optogenetics

    How can we know the functional roles of particular populations of neurons in the brain? Optogenetics is the 2010 “Method of the Year” selection at Nature Methods. One use of optogenetics is to stimulate the production of action potentials … Continue reading

Posted in electrophysiology, Nav1.2 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Inability to experience pain

Voltage-gated sodium channels produce action potentials that carry pain sensation into the central nervous system. Here is an article about a family with members who exhibit a congenital inability to experience pain: A stop codon mutation in SCN9A causes lack … Continue reading

Posted in congenital insensitivity to pain, Diseases, electrophysiology, NaV1.7, pharmacology, ranolazine | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Tissue factor

tissue factor Tissue factor, also known as blood coagulation factor III, is a transmembrane protein  that is important for blood clotting (1). Tissue factor can bind coagulation factor VII, resulting in the activation of its protease activity and leading to fibrin clot … Continue reading

Posted in hemostasis, hypercoagulation, oral contraceptives, pharmacology, protease-activated receptor, proteolysis | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

How many types of photoreceptor cells do we have?

Before this century, the answer was 2: rods and cones (see this textbook). However, there was good evidence that rods and cones could not account for all responses to light in mammals (1). In 2000, it was suggested that melanopsin-expressing retinal … Continue reading

Posted in circadian rhythm, electrophysiology, Leber hereditary opic neuropathy, retinal ganglion cells, sensory physiology, vision | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Entry into the age of genes

This blog post is about trying to understand what goes wrong in Alzheimer disease. I want to start the story 100 years ago… In 1911 Thomas Morgan began the task of locating genes along the length of chromosomes. 100 years later, … Continue reading

Posted in Alzheimer disease, history, lithium, pharmacology, rosiglitazone, signal transduction, Wnt pathway | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Pain sensation and sodium channels

  Panamanian golden frog This blog post is on the trail of potential new treatments for chronic pain conditions. NaV1.8 is one of the types of voltage-gated sodium channels present in pain sensory neurons. Several types of ion channels have … Continue reading

Posted in electrophysiology, NaV1.8, pain | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment