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Developmental biology


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Stefan Riemke, cand. med.

Semester: 10


Interests: neuropediatrics, developmental biology


Project description


Polymorphism in the NRG gene and brain damage in preterm newborns


Neuregulins (NRGs) are cell-cell signaling proteins and ligands of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases. NRG 1 plays essential roles in the developing nervous system, heart, breast 1 and in lung development 2. In the nervous system, NRG 1 regulates radial glial formation, neurotransmitter receptor expression, oligodendrocyte development, and the onset of puberty 3.


NRG1 is also neuroprotective 4. In a Scottish population, an association between a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) of NRG 1 and Schizophrenia has been identified 5. Other possible associations between NRG and neurologic disorders have been reported (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease 6 and multiple sclerosis 7). We hypothesize that the presence of a SNP in the NRG promoter region might modulate the risk for brain damage in preterm newborns.




Polymerase-chain-reaction (PCR) and epidemiologic analytic methods (case control design)




1. Falls DL. Neuregulins: functions, forms, and signaling strategies. Exp Cell Res 2003;284(1):14-30.


2. Dammann CE, Nielsen HC, Carraway KL, 3rd. Role of neuregulin-1 beta in the developing lung. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2003;167(12):1711-6.


3. Corfas G, Roy K, Buxbaum JD. Neuregulin 1-erbB signaling and the molecular/cellular basis of schizophrenia. Nat Neurosci 2004;7(6):575-80.


4. Xu Z, Jiang J, Ford G, Ford BD. Neuregulin-1 is neuroprotective and attenuates inflammatory responses induced by ischemic stroke. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 2004;322(2):440-6.


5. Stefansson H, Sarginson J, Kong A, et al. Association of neuregulin 1 with schizophrenia confirmed in a Scottish population. Am J Hum Genet 2003;72(1):83-7.


6. Chaudhury AR, Gerecke KM, Wyss JM, Morgan DG, Gordon MN, Carroll SL. Neuregulin-1 and erbB4 immunoreactivity is associated with neuritic plaques in Alzheimer disease brain and in a transgenic model of Alzheimer disease. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2003;62(1):42-54.


7. Viehover A, Miller RH, Park SK, Fischbach G, Vartanian T. Neuregulin: an oligodendrocyte growth factor absent in active multiple sclerosis lesions. Dev Neurosci 2001;23(4-5):377-86.




Christiane Dammann


Olaf Dammann


Thilo Dörk

V.i.S.d.P: Christiane Dammann, updated: 12.12.2006