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 July 24, 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 July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
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