First super-resolution image of tiny brain receptor could give scientists a better understanding of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s – University of Birmingham

Direct images of a vital brain receptor, 20,000 times smaller than a human hair, have been captured for the first time as part of a world-first study that could allow scientists to unlock more information about neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The international study, led by scientists at the University of Birmingham in collaboration with the University of Würzburg, examined G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), specifically the metabotropic glutamate receptor (mGluR4), which mediates the effects of the brain’s main neurotransmitter, in an attempt to establish how the receptors are organised within the brain. While previous research had investigated other types of receptors, very little was known about the organization of metabotropic glutamate receptors and other GPCRs in the brain.

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