Navigation Links
Making your brain social
Date:2/2/2014

In many people with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, different parts of the brain don't talk to each other very well. Scientists have now identified, for the first time, a way in which this decreased functional connectivity can come about. In a study published online today in Nature Neuroscience, scientists at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Monterotondo, Italy, and collaborators at the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT), in Rovereto, and La Sapienza University in Rome, demonstrate that it can be caused by cells called microglia failing to trim connections between neurons.

"We show that a deficit in microglia during development can have widespread and long-lasting effects on brain wiring and behaviour," says Cornelius Gross, who led the study. "It leads to weak brain connectivity, decreased social behaviour, and increased repetitive behaviour, all hallmarks of autism."

The findings indicate that, by trimming surplus connections in the developing brain, microglia allow the remaining links to grow stronger, like high-speed fibre-optic cables carrying strong signals between brain regions. But if these cells fail to do their job at that crucial stage of development, those brain regions are left with a weaker communication network, which in turn has lifelong effects on behaviour.

Yang Zhan, a postdoctoral fellow in Gross' lab at EMBL, analysed the strength of connections between different areas of brain in mice that were genetically engineered to have fewer microglia during development. Working with Alessandro Gozzi's lab at IIT and Davide Ragozzino at La Sapienza University, the EMBL scientists combined this approach with high-resolution fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans of the mice's brains, taking full advantage of a novel technique developed at IIT, which enables scientists to obtain detailed, three-dimensional maps of the brain's functional connections. The team found that mice with fewer microglia had weaker connections between neurons, and less cross-talk between different brain regions. When Rosa Paolicelli, a PhD student in Gross' lab, studied the mice's behaviour, she discovered that mice with fewer microglia and decreased connectivity displayed behaviours commonly associated with autism spectrum disorders. These mice spent more time repeatedly grooming themselves, and avoided social interactions.

"This is an exciting time to be studying microglia," Gross concludes: "they're turning out to be major players in how our brain gets wired up."


'/>"/>
Contact: Sonia Furtado Neves
sonia.furtado@embl.de
European Molecular Biology Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Making memories: How 1 protein does it
2. Killer silk: Making silk fibers that kill anthrax and other microbes in minutes
3. Chemical engineers at UMass Amherst find high-yield method of making xylene from biomass
4. Copper making salmon prone to predators
5. Making healthy food affordable and appealing for low-income populations
6. Winemaking goes high-tech at the University of British Columbia
7. For gay couples, condom decision-making and condom use varies by race
8. Making sense out of the biological matrix of bipolar disorder
9. Making memories: Drexel researchers explore the anatomy of recollection
10. Making chocolate an affordable luxury
11. Are bacteria making you hungry?
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Making your brain social
(Date:3/30/2017)... Trends, opportunities and forecast in this market ... (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, hand geometry, vein ... use industry (government and law enforcement, commercial and retail, ... others), and by region ( North America ... Pacific , and the Rest of the World) ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... -- The Controller General of Immigration from Maldives Mr. ... have received the prestigious international IAIR Award for the most innovative high ... ... Maldives Immigration Controller ... (small picture on the right) have received the IAIR award for the ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 21, 2017   Neurotechnology , ... recognition technologies, today announced the release of the ... which provides improved facial recognition using up to ... a single computer. The new version uses deep ... accuracy, and it utilizes a Graphing Processing Unit ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/23/2017)... ... May 23, 2017 , ... Kathy ... President of Clinical Operations. She brings years of expertise in establishing and leading ... professional foundation as a licensed occupational therapist, through a variety of leadership roles ...
(Date:5/22/2017)... Maryland (PRWEB) , ... May 22, 2017 , ... ... Olsen, joined with other leaders of the Maryland Biohealth community in developing and ... globally recognized Top 3 U.S. BioHealth Innovation Hub by 2023. ...
(Date:5/19/2017)... ... May 19, 2017 , ... The University City Science Center ... ripe for commercialization, and who are affiliated with the 21 partner academic and ... QED, now in its tenth round, is the first multi-institutional proof-of-concept program for ...
(Date:5/18/2017)... ... May 17, 2017 , ... ... further enhances its scientific power by providing investigators access to a high-profile ... to join the scientific advisory board. “We are committed to offering superior ...
Breaking Biology Technology: