Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Neuron-generating brain region could hold promise for neurodegenerative therapies

Date:
February 20, 2014
Source:
Cell Press
Summary:
Adult humans continuously produce new neurons in the striatum and these neurons could play an important role in possibly finding new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, according to a study. To detect the birth of new neurons in the striatum, the authors used a method that measures carbon-14 found in human DNA as a result of above-ground nuclear testing. The discovery may open up new avenues to treat diseases and disorders that affect the striatum.

Adult humans continuously produce new neurons in the striatum, a brain region involved in motor control and cognitive functions, and these neurons could play an important role in recovery from stroke and possibly finding new treatments for neurodegenerative disorders, according to a study published by Cell Press February 20th in the journal Cell. To detect the birth of new neurons in the striatum, the authors used a method that measures carbon-14 found in human DNA as a result of above-ground nuclear testing more than half a century ago.

Related Articles


The findings reveal a surprise finding of new neurons in a human brain structure where they haven't been previously described. The discovery may open up new avenues to treat diseases and disorders that affect the striatum.

"A wide variety of disorders may affect the striatum, including acquired conditions such as stroke and also genetically inherited disorders such as Huntington's disease," says study author Aurélie Ernst of the Karolinska Institute. "We identified a unique pattern of neurogenesis in the adult human brain that might potentially be useful for the development of novel therapies for some of these neurological diseases."

Adult humans and other mammals produce immature neurons in several brain regions, including the lateral ventricle wall. In rodents, new neurons in this brain structure migrate to the olfactory bulb -- a brain region involved in odor perception. But this is not the case in humans, possibly because the sense of smell is less important for us than for other mammals. The fate of new neurons born in the lateral ventricle wall of humans had been a mystery.

Attempting to address this question, Jonas Frisén of the Karolinska Institute and his team used an innovative method for dating the birth of neurons. Their strategy takes advantage of the elevated atmospheric levels of carbon-14, a radioactive form of carbon, caused by above-ground nuclear bomb testing more than 50 years ago. Since the 1963 nuclear test ban treaty, atmospheric levels of carbon-14 have declined at a known rate. When we eat plants or animal products, we absorb carbon-14, and the exact atmospheric concentration at any point in time is stamped into DNA every time a new cell is born.

By measuring the carbon-14 concentration in DNA from the brain tissue of deceased humans, the researchers found that neurogenesis occurs not only in the lateral ventricle wall in adult humans, but also in an adjacent brain region called the striatum. By contrast, neurogenesis in this brain region was significantly reduced in patients who had Huntington's disease, which is characterized by uncontrolled movements and cognitive decline due to the progressive loss of striatal neurons.

"The identification of a subset of neurons that is renewed in the adult human striatum raises the question whether this process can be taken advantage of for therapeutic purposes," Ernst says. "Increasing the generation or promoting the survival of new neurons might offer an attractive possibility in some cases."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Aurélie Ernst, Kanar Alkass, Samuel Bernard, Mehran Salehpour, Shira Perl, John Tisdale, Göran Possnert, Henrik Druid, Jonas Frisén. Neurogenesis in the Striatum of the Adult Human Brain. Cell, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2014.01.044

Cite This Page:

Cell Press. "Neuron-generating brain region could hold promise for neurodegenerative therapies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132154.htm>.
Cell Press. (2014, February 20). Neuron-generating brain region could hold promise for neurodegenerative therapies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132154.htm
Cell Press. "Neuron-generating brain region could hold promise for neurodegenerative therapies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/02/140220132154.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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