A lack of glucose can affect the development of neuromotor diseases

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The NeuroLipid Research Group leads a study that shows the importance of sugar in the correct development of motor neurons

A lack of glucose can affect the development of neuromotor diseases
Researchers at UIC Barcelona, who are part of the CIBERobn Group, in cooperation with the University of Oslo, have proven for the first time that glucose is a key nutrient for the growth of neurons, thus furthering understanding of one of the mechanisms involved in the development of neuromotor diseases. The research was published in the journal eLife.
The findings show that not only do cholesterol and proteins have an active role in the growth of neurons, but lack of sugar in the diet alters axonal growth. 
“Until now we knew that the amino acids in our diet favour the development of neuronal axons, that is, the prolongation of the neurons that carry the nerve impulse from the brain to any muscle in our body,” explained the head of the Group of Neurolipid Research, Dr Núria Casals. “Thanks to the study we have carried out, it has been possible to demonstrate that other nutrients such as sugar also intervene in the axonal growth of motor neurons.”
The group of researchers from UIC Barcelona and at the University of Oslo have identified, in addition, the signals that alert of possible problems in neuronal development. Specifically, “we have seen that the CPT1C protein acts as a sensor of the energy state, and alerts when the level of glucose inside the neurons decreases. In this way, the growth of the axon is slowed down to avoid mutations in CPTC1, which they prevent it from working properly and produce a neuromotor disease, hereditary spastic paraplegia,” explains Dr Rut Fadó, one of the study’s lead authors.
The findings published represent a step forward in research into the role of nutrients in neuronal development and this how this process is regulated, and thus enable early detection of possible genetic alterations and future pathologies.