Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Memory Mission Explores New Territory In Neuroscience

Date:
December 1, 2008
Source:
Queensland Brain Institute
Summary:
Astrophysicists peer into the far corners of deep space for dark matter, but for neuroscientists are exploring the unknown is much closer to home.

Researchers have discovered a mechanism vital to the development of the hippocampus – a region of the brain crucial to the formation of memories, and the lifelong production and integration of new nerve cells.
Credit: Image courtesy of Queensland Brain Institute

Astrophysicists peer into the far corners of deep space for dark matter, but for neuroscientists at the Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) exploring the unknown is much closer to home.

They have discovered a mechanism vital to the development of the hippocampus * – a region of the brain crucial to the formation of memories, and the lifelong production and integration of new nerve cells.

To say the hippocampus is important is a bit like saying breathing is optimal.

According to QBI's Associate Professor Linda Richards, despite the crucial role performed by the hippocampus throughout life, knowledge of this region's early development remains surprisingly scant. Her research team is looking at how the brain forms during embryonic and foetal development.

Dr Richards and her colleagues have identified a gene that regulates the development of glial cells in the hippocampus. Their research shows that the hippocampus contains different populations of glial cells that are essential for the structural integrity of the hippocampus.

"Glial cells are an important part of the building blocks of the brain," Dr Richards said.

"They provide an essential scaffold for the migration of neurons in the developing brain. It is vital we understand how glial cells provide this structural scaffold because if the hippocampus is not formed correctly it cannot perform all the functions required of it in the developing and adult brain," she said.

"The hippocampus plays an integral role in spatial navigation, learning and memory, and is a major site for adult neurogenesis."

Mice lacking the gene that regulates glial cell differentiation exhibit major developmental irregularities, including catastrophic structural deformities of the hippocampus.

Equipped with this knowledge, researchers studying the hippocampus now have a better understanding of the genes that help control the development of this vital brain region. Fundamental scientific knowledge of this kind is an essential step in understanding brain function and repair.

* The term hippocampus is derived from the Greek words "hippos" (horse) and "campus" (sea monster). The brain region known as the hippocampus has the characteristic shape of a sea-horse's tail.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queensland Brain Institute. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Barry et al. Specific Glial Populations Regulate Hippocampal Morphogenesis. Journal of Neuroscience, 2008; 28 (47): 12328 DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4000-08.2008

Cite This Page:

Queensland Brain Institute. "Memory Mission Explores New Territory In Neuroscience." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121092456.htm>.
Queensland Brain Institute. (2008, December 1). Memory Mission Explores New Territory In Neuroscience. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121092456.htm
Queensland Brain Institute. "Memory Mission Explores New Territory In Neuroscience." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081121092456.htm (accessed August 22, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, August 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
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