Navigation Links
Fittest Of Newborn Neurons Survive

Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies say that even in young neurons it is the survival of the fittest. Whether a new neuron lives or is killed off// depends on its ability to establish connections with other cells. This new study is conducted by the lab of Fred H. Gage, Ph.D., a professor in the Gene Expression Laboratory and the Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases. It says that a subunit of the NMDA receptor is vital in the integration of new neurons in the brain. The study is due to appear in a forthcoming issue of Nature.

The NMDA receptor is activated by the neurotransmitter glutamate, a chemical released by neurons in order to transmit information to neighboring cells. Whenever the receptor picks up a glutamate signal it is stimulated and relays the signal. But for newborn neurons that signal means something else entirely -- survival.

"When we removed the NMDA receptor, that is when cells make connections in response to glutamate in the environment, the newborn neurons withered and died at a specific stage of their maturation," explains Gage. " The NMDA receptor modulates synapse formation and determines what pattern of input activity new neurons receive, which in turn determines survival or death."

Combining mouse genetics and gene transfer techniques, Gage and a team headed by former postdoctoral fellow Ayumu Tashiro, Ph.D., injected a virus carrying a pair of molecular shears capable of deleting a gene encoding part of the NMDA receptor into the hippocampus, a brain region harboring neural stem cells that give rise to new neurons. Newly born neurons infected with virus were marked by a fluorescent dye enabling detection of neurons derived from those cells.

A few weeks later, animals that received the virus showed fewer fluorescent neurons compared to mice injected with a benign virus lacking the shears, meaning fewer new neurons had survived origina ting from neural stem cells in which the NMDA receptor had been eliminated.

Listening to Gage, one gets the impression that the hippocampus is a dangerous place for a fledgling neuron trying to elbow its way into pre-existing networks. "It's rough in there!" he concedes. "The NMDA receptor-mediated event is a competition between mature cells vying for connectivity and young guys competing with both the mature cells and their peers to fit in. You are selecting for the cell that performs best in this environment."

The Gage lab previously showed that the rate at which new neurons emerge from stem cells depends on an animal's activity. "If you put animals in an enriched environment and give them access to running wheels, you increase survival of new brain cells," says Gage. "Now we show that stimulation may, in part, be mediated through the NMDA receptor."

Those studies had also shown that young and middle-aged "exercised" rats perform better on learning tasks such as maze swimming, indicating that new neurons are more than just a backup supply but actually enhance learning.

"Remarkably, new neurons are born in the hippocampus, a structure whose function is to acquire new information," says Gage. "That suggests that new cells are involved in how we learn."

This ongoing struggle for connections between young and mature neurons is apparently more than just a spectacle designed to keep Mother Nature amused: the fact that enhanced learning is correlated with adult neurogenesis suggests constant rearrangements within neural networks are absolutely necessary for learning to occur.

In fact, data emerging from studies in the Gage lab reinforces the commonly held belief that using one's brain cells is the best way to optimize brain function throughout one's lifetime.

"In the natural course of aging there is cognitive decline," says Gage. "We know we lose the ability to generate new neurons with a ge. We are currently trying to figure out how to generate as many neurons as possible to potentially enhance learning or increase the amount of neurogenesis in adults."

Source: Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Baltimore is Americas Fittest City; Chicago the Fattest
2. Screening Newborns Questioned
3. Cooling Can Reduce The Risk Of Brain Damage In Oxygen Deprived Newborns
4. Newborns Know how to make eye contact
5. Early Screening For Hearing Impairments In Newborn Can Be Helpful
6. New Portable Helmet Scanner To Examine Newborns
7. Newborns Affected By Antidepressant Intake Of Mothers
8. NHS To Screen Newborn Babies For Hearing Impairment
9. Use Of Alcohol During Pregnancy Affects Newborns
10. Exposure To Solvents May Harm Pregnant Women And Newborns
11. Bribery has Claimed the Life of a Newborn in Madhya Pradesh
Post Your Comments:

(Date:6/26/2016)... ... , ... On June 10-11, 2016, A Forever Recovery, a holistic treatment center ... Breakfast Table in Battle Creek, MI, where the rehabilitation facility is located. This annual ... the world’s leading providers of cereal and other breakfast foods. Its residents often refer ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... Birmingham, Lake Orion, Clarkston, Michigan (PRWEB) , ... ... ... their direction with respect to fertility once they have been diagnosed with endometriosis. ... for tolerable intercourse but they also require a comprehensive approach that can help ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... "With 30 hand-drawn hand gesture animations, ... Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProHand Cartoon’s package transforms ... Final Cut Pro X . Simply select a ProHand generator and drag it above ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... On Friday, June 10, Van Mitchell, Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health ... of their exemplary accomplishments in worksite health promotion. , The Wellness at Work Awards ... at the BWI Marriott in Linthicum Heights. iHire was one of 42 businesses to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In an effort ... holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued a pain ... Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can cause episodes ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... -- According to a new market research ... Safety Pen Needles), Needle Length (4mm, 5mm, 6mm, 8mm, ... Purchase (Retail, Non-Retail) - Trends & Global Forecasts to ... for the forecast period of 2016 to 2021. This ... 2021 from USD 1.65 Billion in 2016, growing at ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... report to their offering. ... failure, it replaces the function of kidneys by removing the ... the treatment helps to keep the patient body,s electrolytes such ... Increasing number of ESRD patients & substantial healthcare expenditure on ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... DUBLIN , June 23, 2016 ... "Global MEMS Devices Medical Market Analysis 2016 - Forecast to ... The report contains up to date financial ... reliable analysis. Assessment of major trends with potential impact on ... dive analysis of market segmentation which comprises of sub markets, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: