Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gas On Your Mind: Snail's Brain Provides Insights Into Human Learning

Date:
December 13, 2006
Source:
University of Leicester
Summary:
Scientists at the University of Leicester are to gain a greater insight into the workings of the human mind -- through the study of a snail's brain.

Isolated snail nerve cells that have grown connections in cell culture.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Leicester

Scientists at the University of Leicester are to gain a greater insight into the workings of the human mind -- through the study of a snail's brain.

The research may lead to a greater understanding of the development of the nervous system and the processes that control nerve cell regeneration following injury. Researchers received funding of 322,299 from the BBSRC (Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council) for the study.

The research project, led by Dr Volko Straub, a Research Councils UK fellow in the University's Department of Cell Physiology and Pharmacology, may also provide new insights why nitric oxide plays such an important role in many forms of learning.

Dr Straub commented: "The gas nitric oxide has two faces. It can be highly toxic and kill. However, it is also found naturally in the brain where it is used by nerve cells to communicate with each other. So, whilst it can be poisonous, the body also uses it beneficially as an internal signal."

"During brain development, nitric oxide can promote the growth of nerve cells and the formation of connections between nerve cells. Learning also triggers the formation of new connections between nerve cells and in many cases requires nitric oxide."

Despite the recognition of the importance of nitric oxide for the formation of nerve cell connections, scientists know little about the mechanisms. The Leicester BBSRC-funded project will study directly the relationship between the effects of nitric oxide on the growth of nerve cells and the formation of nerve cell connections.

Dr Straub explained: "Studying these processes in higher animals is complicated by the complexity of their nervous system. Fortunately, evolution has been very conservative. So, we decided to use the nervous system of the common pond snail, which is considerably less complex than the nervous system of higher animals such as mice, as a model system.

"In the snail, individual nerve cells are relatively large and easily identifiable. They are accessible for experimental manipulations. Snail neurons can also be isolated from the nervous system and maintained in cell culture, where they grow and form functional connections. Importantly, the basic processes and factors that control the growth of nerve cells and the formation of functional connections are highly conserved in all animals."

The results of the project will show what effects nitric oxide has on nerve cell growth and on the formation of functional connections. In a broader context, the results will contribute to a better understanding of the factors that control nerve cell growth and the formation of functional connections.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Leicester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Leicester. "Gas On Your Mind: Snail's Brain Provides Insights Into Human Learning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211124047.htm>.
University of Leicester. (2006, December 13). Gas On Your Mind: Snail's Brain Provides Insights Into Human Learning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211124047.htm
University of Leicester. "Gas On Your Mind: Snail's Brain Provides Insights Into Human Learning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061211124047.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The village of Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria was where HIV-AIDS was first discovered in Uganda. Its transient population of fishermen and sex workers means the nationwide programme to combat the virus has had little impact. Duration: 02:30 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins