The good side of the prion

A molecule that is not only dangerous, but can help the brain grow

A few years ago it was found that certain proteins, the prions, when defective are dangerous, as they are involved in neurodegenerative syndromes such as the Creutzfeldt-Jakob and the Alzheimer diseases. But now research is showing their good side, too: when performing well, prions may be crucial in the development of the brain during childhood, as observed by a study carried out by a team of neuroscientists at SISSA which appeared in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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Qualche anno fa si è scoperto che delle proteine, i prioni, quando sono difettose sono pericolose, perché coinvolte in malattie neurodegenerative come il morbo di Creutzfeldt-Jakob e Alzheimer. Ora però la ricerca ne mostra la faccia buona: se ben funzionanti i prioni potrebbero essere importanti nello sviluppo del cervello in età infantile, come osserva una ricerca condotta da team di neuroscienziati della SISSA di Trieste e pubblicato sul Journal of Neuroscience.

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