Navigation Links
Neurons hard wired to tell left from right
Date:3/30/2008

It's well known that the left and right sides of the brain differ in many animal species and this is thought to influence cognitive performance and social behaviour. For instance, in humans, the left half of the brain is concerned with language processing whereas the right side is better at comprehending musical melody.

Now researchers from UCL publishing their work in the open access journal Neural Development have pinpointed for the first time the left/right differences in how brains are wired at the level of individual cells. To do this, a research team led by Stephen Wilson looked at left and right-sided neurons (nerve cells) in a part of the brain called the habenula.

By causing habenular neurons to produce a bright green fluorescent protein they saw that they form remarkable "spiral-shaped" axons, the long nerve fibres that act as the nervous system's transmission lines.

"It's clear that the left and right halves of the brain process different types of information but almost nothing is known about the differences in the brain's circuitry which achieve this" says Wilson. "One possibility is that totally different types of neuron might be found on the left and right. Alternatively, both sides could contain the same building blocks but put them together in different ways".

The researchers saw that there are two types of habenular neuron and both types can be found on both left and right sides. However, whilst most left-sided cells have spiral axons shaped into a domed crown, such neurons are not very common on the right. Instead, most right-sided cells form flat, shallow spirals, and these are formed only occasionally on the left.

"In the same way that an engineer can make different electronic circuits from the same set of electronic components, so the left and right halves of the brain use the same types of neuron but in different combinations" explains Isaac Bianco, the student who did this work as part of his PhD studies.

The left and right habenular circuits both connect to the same part of the brain and the researchers found that this target can either combine signals from the left and right or handle them independently.

"Even though language is processed largely on the left side of the human brain, people don't speak with only one half of their mouth. The brain must contain circuits which take information from the left or right and then send it on to targets on both sides of the body" says Wilson.


'/>"/>

Contact: Charlotte Webber
charlotte.webber@biomedcentral.com
44-020-763-19980
BioMed Central
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Weill Cornell team discovers how brains own tPA helps regulate blood flow to neurons
2. Overexcited neurons not good for cell health
3. The birth and death of dopamine neurons: A new model for neurodegeneration
4. The accumulation of sugar in neurons may explain the origin of several neurodegenerative diseases
5. Mice use specialized neurons to detect carbon dioxide in the air
6. Humans appear hardwired to learn by over-imitation
7. Northern right whales head south to give birth, leave genetic fingerprints with NOAA researchers
8. Bright lights: Mystery of glowing antibody solved by Scripps research scientists
9. UMMS and CIW grant key RNAi rights to Oxford Biomedica
10. UFs new owl butterfly species naming rights auctioned for $40,800
11. Everglades phosphorus limits on the right track, but more is needed
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/11/2017)... MOINES, Iowa , Jan. 11, 2017 ... industry first with the release of its patent-pending calibration ... quickly and reliably perform calibrations, securely upload data logs ... flexibility for the customer. "Fighting drunk driving ... only for the public at large, but also for ...
(Date:1/6/2017)...  Delta ID Inc., a leader in consumer-grade iris ... at CES® 2017. Delta ID has collaborated with Gentex ... use of iris scanning as a secure, reliable and ... a car, and as a way to elevate the ... Delta ID and Gentex will demonstrate (booth #7326 LVCC) ...
(Date:12/22/2016)... Calif. , Dec. 20, 2016  As part of ... 23andMe, the leading personal genetics company, recently released its latest ... . The book focuses on the topics of inheritance ... Generation Science Standards (NGSS) taught in elementary school classrooms in ... in a series by illustrator Ariana Killoran , whose ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/17/2017)... YORK , Jan. 17, 2017 ... health coaching, is the first to offer fully ... obesity. Noom,s Spanish diabetes prevention and ... the reach and accessibility of lifestyle interventions among ... developing these conditions. Noom,s robust food database, program-specific ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... UK (PRWEB) , ... January ... ... presented by surgeons at the 2016 annual meeting of the North American ... clinical outcomes, for patients in the majority of cases, when PEEK-OPTIMA™ HA ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... , ... January 17, 2017 , ... ... and epigenetics research, recently announced a collaboration with the Heidelberg University Hospital and ... method for library preparation, following the company’s successful launch of its CATS ...
(Date:1/16/2017)... MANHASSET, N.Y. , Jan. 16, 2017   ... Kevin J. Tracey, MD , president and CEO of ... Northwell Health, completed an analysis of how the nervous ... further identify and develop bioelectronic medicine devices ... today in Nature Neuroscience . The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: