Navigation Links
Brain cells work differently than previously thought
Date:8/19/2007

Irvine, Calif. Scientists know that information travels between brain cells along hairlike extensions called axons. For the first time, researchers have found that axons dont just transmit information they can turn the signal up or down with the right stimulation.

This finding may help scientists develop treatments for psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia in which it is thought that different parts of the brain do not communicate correctly with each other.

Until now, scientists have thought that in the brains cortex -- where most cognitive processes occur -- information was only processed in the cell body, said Raju Metherate, author of the study, associate professor of neurobiology and behavior, and director of the Center for Hearing Research at UC Irvine. The result of our study suggests that we must consider the axons as sites of information processing and of potential problems when things go wrong.

This study appears online Aug. 19 in Nature Neuroscience.

Increasingly, studies are beginning to show that complex information processing, and perhaps consciousness itself, may result from coordinated activity among many parts of the brain connected by bundles of long axons. Cognitive problems may occur when these areas dont communicate properly with each other.

Cognitive function occurs when millions of brain cells communicate with each other at the same time. A brain cell has a network of branches called dendrites through which it receives and processes information from other cells. The body of the cell then relays the processed information along an axon to a terminal that links to another cells dendrites. At the terminal, chemicals called neurotransmitters are released, allowing the information to enter the receiving cell. Until now, scientists believed axons were just the wires between point A and point B.

Axons, we thought, were like wires in a radio conveying signals, but we found that if you stimulate the axon, the signal can be altered, like turning the volume knob on the radio, Metherate said.

Originally, Metherate and his colleagues had hoped to confirm the idea that the drug nicotine alters information that is processed in the cell body or terminal. Puzzled by several negative tests, they developed an experiment in which they could study the intervening axon.

In their experiment, they examined a section of mouse brain associated with hearing that contained a brain cell with an axon connecting to the cortex. Using nicotine, they stimulated the axon to determine how it would affect a signal the brain cell sent to the cortex. Without applying nicotine, about 35 percent of the messages sent by the brain cell reached the cortex. But when nicotine was applied to the axon, the success rate nearly doubled to about 70 percent.

We looked for more conventional reasons why the response was enhanced, but the evidence just kept pointing to the axon. Nicotine activated the proteins that we think are on the axon, Metherate said. This is a completely new idea about how the brain works.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Fitzenberger
jfitzen@uci.edu
949-824-3969
University of California - Irvine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Use of Cellular Phones associated with Increased risk of Brain Tumors
2. Brain death – How to cope with it
3. Multi billion-dollar suit filed against cell phone firm for causing brain tumours
4. “Brain fingerprinting”- The new lie detectr
5. Nasal Spray Could Take Drugs Direct to Brain.
6. Two doctors suspended for wrong brain surgery
7. The brain loves a surprise
8. Virus Combats Brain Tumour
9. Increase in sugar...decrease in brain function!!!
10. Alcohol shrinks brain
11. Roller coaster takes brain for a big ride!!
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/26/2017)... ... ... KICKICO , a protocol built on Ethereum for more transparent ICO and ... funding campaigns. KICKICO developers are testing the platform, which will launch for the public ... through the power of many - has been around for about ten years as ...
(Date:6/25/2017)... ... ... a feel-good lyric music video in Final Cut Pro X with ProLyric from Pixel Film ... the lyrics to any song. ProLyric flies in the text for each section and it ... added modularly for optimal control. ProLyric makes editing any music video or text-based production easier ...
(Date:6/25/2017)... ... 25, 2017 , ... CareSet Labs released the Root NPI Graph today at ... new, greatly improved version of the Doctor Referral teaming dataset commonly available from Medicare. ... subsequently called the the “Doctor Referral Dataset” as released by Medicare and “DocGraph” as ...
(Date:6/24/2017)... ... 24, 2017 , ... Genes Advice, a new company based ... and Texas doctors' offices and clinics. This breakthrough testing is part of the ... the role genes play in determining an individual's tolerance of and reaction to ...
(Date:6/24/2017)... ... June 24, 2017 , ... The weather is heating up ... Home and business owners should be aware that the summer months provide more than ... mechanical locks and keys can be negatively affected from direct exposure to the sun. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/8/2017)... Fla. , June 8, 2017  Less than ... that hit more than 200,000 companies, including hospital networks, ... being heralded as one of the largest online extortion ... in the healthcare market, it is imperative that providers ... protect their data from this — and many other ...
(Date:6/7/2017)... , June 6, 2017  Diplomat Specialty Infusion Group, a brand ... environment to its Iowa location. ... now features an ISO 7 cleanroom—the standard needed to ... with a low level of pollutants. ... nutrition consumers and better serve our Iowa ...
(Date:6/1/2017)... Nutriceutical Holdings (NH), parent company of Physician ... KD Pharma Group have decided to join forces through ... Group. KD Pharma Group will become the largest shareholder ... entire company. "We believe we have found ... growing the NH companies by providing us with supply ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: