José Manuel García Verdugo, a professor of Cell Biology at University of Valencia, together with a University of California research team, has participated in the discovery of new pathways of neurons migrating from lateral ventricles to the prefrontal cortex. The work done in children at early ages reveals a new cell pathway which may increase the amount of neurons in regions important for cognitive tasks, emotional processes and spatial perception.
The zone around lateral ventricles of many non-human mammals generates large numbers of new neurons whose destiny is the olfactory bulb. Cells producing this migration, spring from the walls of the lateral ventricles, where the stem cells are, and reach the olfactory bulbs, generating granular and periglomerular neurons. This proliferation of neurons is constant throughout life.
In the article published in the journal Nature, researchers detailed that this migration to the olfactory bulb exists only at early ages in childhood development and extincts by the age of seven. But the most interesting and unlike other mammals is that a new corridor of cells migrating from lateral ventricles to the prefrontal cortex is found. It is the first time this migration is described and it may contribute to increase the amount of new neurons in regions important for cognitive tasks, emotional processes and spatial perception.
Any disruption of this migratory pathway may be, therefore, the reason for neurological injuries affecting frontal lobe, such as schizophrenia, autism, addiction or hyperactivity in children. "Recently, the discovery of the existence of stem cells in our brain, as well as adult neurogenesis, changed completely scientific perspective on brain -García Verdugo says. Now, this new information makes it possible for us to begin to understand some of the brain disorders affecting people from an early age.
José Manuel García Verdugo is a member of University of Valencia Cavanilles Institute for Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology (Science Park) and of Prince Felipe research centre morphology laboratory. His participation has focused on morphological research for identifying and interpreting migrating cells in their environment, using electron microscope and immunohistochemistry.
Professor García Verdugo is one of the world experts in the knowledge of neural stem cells, not just in mammals but also in other vertebrates. He also participated in the pioneering work that identified stem cells in the adult human brain (Nature, 427:740-744 (2004)), and participated in the first description of the two mammalian neurogenic areas known to date. He is full professor of Cell Biology at University of Valencia, where he leads a research group focused on the study of adult stem cells in humans.
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