Navigation Links
Mechanism explains complex brain wiring

How neurons are created and integrate with each other is one of biology's greatest riddles. Researcher Dietmar Schmucker from VIB-KU Leuven unravels a part of the mystery in Science magazine. He describes a mechanism that explains novel aspects of how the wiring of highly branched neurons in the brain works. These new insights into how complex neural networks are formed are very important for understanding and treating neurological diseases.

Neurons, or nerve cells

It is estimated that a person has 100 billion neurons, or nerve cells. These neurons have thin, elongated, highly branched offshoots called dendrites and axons. They are the body's information and signal processors. The dendrites receive electrical impulses from the other neurons and conduct these to the cell body. The cell body then decides whether stimuli will or will not be transferred to other cells via the axon.

The brain's wiring is very complex. Although the molecular mechanisms that explain the linear connection between neurons have already been described numerous times, little is as yet known about how the branched wiring works in the brain.

The connections between nerve cells

Prior research by Dietmar Schmucker and his team lead to the identification of the Dscam1 protein in the fruit fly. The neuron can create many different protein variations, or isoforms, from this same protein. The specific set of isoforms that occurs on a neuron's cell surface determines the neuron's unique molecular identity and plays an important role in the establishment of accurate connections. In other words, it describes why certain neurons either come into contact with each other or reject each other.

Recent work by Haihuai H and Yoshiaki Kise from Dietmar's team indicates that different sets of Dscam1 isoforms occur inside one axon, between the newly formed offshoots amongst each other. If this was not the case, then only linear connections could come about between neurons. These results indicate for the first time the significance of why different sets of the same protein variations can occur in one neuron and it could explain mechanistically how this contributes to the complex wiring in our brain.

Clinical impact

Although this research was done with fruit flies, it also provides new insights that help explain the wiring and complex interactions of the human brain and shine a new light on neurological development disorders such as autism. Thorough knowledge of nerve cell creation and their neural interactions is considered essential knowledge for the future possibility of using stem cell therapy as standard treatment for certain nervous system disorders.


Contact: Dietmar Schmucker
VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)

Related medicine news :

1. MAD: Scientists shed light on braking mechanisms in cellular signaling
2. Mechanisms of ibrutinib resistance identified in chronic lymphocytic leukemia
3. Major discovery on the mechanism of drug resistance in leukemia and other cancers
4. Researchers identify key mechanism in metabolic pathway that fuels cancers
5. Supermodel mouse reveals mechanisms that regulate metabolism, researchers find
6. Scientists decode epigenetic mechanisms distinguishing stem cell function and blood cancer
7. Study identifies mechanism by which intestinal enzyme maintains microbial balance
8. Vascular simulation research reveals new mechanism that switches in disease
9. GW researcher discovers the mechanisms that link brain alertness and increased heart rate
10. Researchers identify mechanism of cancer caused by loss of BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene function
11. Depressed? Researchers identify new anti-depressant mechanisms, therapeutic approaches
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... management services, today announced its partnership with WPC Healthcare , a provider ... systems and organizes the data into an aggregated data repository necessary to perform ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 13, 2015 , ... Altec Products, Inc., the leader in ... Dynamics AXUG, GPUG and NAVUG Summits to take place the week of October ... user conferences designed and led by users to provide attendees with a unique ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Relay (, a technology company that connects ... contract that will provide its award-winning private messaging solution to Independence Blue Cross ... of its Relay program, IBX Wire™, which now has over 550,000 members using ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... ... A child without a healthy mouth is much more likely to have ... system, has joined with Global Dental Relief (GDR) to help bring dental ... purchased, SmileCareClub will donate one clinic visit to a child in Kenya. , “When ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Watsonville, California (PRWEB) , ... ... ... has launched Postnatal Omega-3, a first-of-its kind product that targets the unique ... “Official Postnatal Omega-3” of the American Pregnancy Association ( ), utilizes ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/13/2015)...  Synapse Biomedical Inc. ( ) reported today ... the use of the NeuRx ® Diaphragm Pacing ... the United States and ... The PAS study group met their initial enrollment goal ... since expanded the enrollment target to 150 participants.   ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... , Oct. 13 2015 ... the "US & European markets for Meniscal ... their offering. --> ) has ... European markets for Meniscal Repair - 16 Countries ... Research and Markets ( ) has ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has ... Types (Bacteria, Yeast, Mold, Others), Flavors (Herbs & Spices, ... by Region - Forecasts to 2020" report to ... --> The global market for kombucha ... terms of value, the market is projected to reach ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: