Without Key Receptors, New Brain Cells Do Not Survive Migration

Mar 24, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Newly created brain cells lacking a critical receptor do not survive a long migration to join complex neural networks, a Yale University research team reports March 25 in the journal Neuron.

Understanding this involved in neurogenesis — the creation of — can help improve efficiency of surgery and lead to a better understanding of the cellular defects responsible for ADHD and schizophrenia said Angelique Bordey, associate professor of and cellular & molecular physiology and senior author of the study.

In the developing brain, stem cells give birth to hundreds of billions of specialized cells that form intricate networks with trillions of connections. However, it is still poorly understood exactly how these neurons survive their long journey and reach their proper place in the network.

Bordey’s team decided to study the mechanism of neurogenesis in adult brains, which in rare cases produce new cells in specific areas of the brain. These newly formed acquire NMDA receptors, which are activated by the amino acid glutamate and play an essential role in the transmission of information in the brain. NMDA receptors have been implicated in ailments as diverse as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact NMDA receptors important for brain cell survival are mutated in ADHD and and are thought to contribute to susceptibility to these disorders. The Yale team found that when newly formed brain cells lose these receptors, they were much more likely to die.

The study suggests that, in order to be effective, stem cells used in transplants may need to be mature enough to possess these receptors, Bordey said. Also the study also underscores the importance of education because several drugs such as PCP, also known as angel dust, are known to block NMDA, thereby killing brain cells in infants, teenagers, and probably developing fetuses, she added.

Explore further: Know the brain, and its axons, by the clothes they wear

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New brain cells listen before they talk

Oct 30, 2007

Newly created neurons in adults rely on signals from distant brain regions to regulate their maturation and survival before they can communicate with existing neighboring cells—a finding that has important implications ...

This is your brain on fatty acids

Oct 30, 2009

Saturated fats have a deservedly bad reputation, but Johns Hopkins scientists have discovered that a sticky lipid occurring naturally at high levels in the brain may help us memorize grandma's recipe for cinnamon buns, as ...

Recommended for you

Know the brain, and its axons, by the clothes they wear

55 minutes ago

(Medical Xpress)—It is widely know that the grey matter of the brain is grey because it is dense with cell bodies and capillaries. The white matter is almost entirely composed of lipid-based myelin, but ...

Turning off depression in the brain

21 hours ago

Scientists have traced vulnerability to depression-like behaviors in mice to out-of-balance electrical activity inside neurons of the brain's reward circuit and experimentally reversed it – but there's ...

Rapid whole-brain imaging with single cell resolution

22 hours ago

A major challenge of systems biology is understanding how phenomena at the cellular scale correlate with activity at the organism level. A concerted effort has been made especially in the brain, as scientists are aiming to ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Vietnam battles fatal measles outbreak

Vietnam is scrambling to contain a deadly outbreak of measles that has killed more than 100 people, mostly young children, and infected thousands more this year, the government said Friday.

Continents may be a key feature of Super-Earths

Huge Earth-like planets that have both continents and oceans may be better at harboring extraterrestrial life than those that are water-only worlds. A new study gives hope for the possibility that many super-Earth ...

Researchers successfully clone adult human stem cells

(Phys.org) —An international team of researchers, led by Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology, has announced that they have performed the first successful cloning of adult human skin cells into stem ...

Under some LED bulbs whites aren't 'whiter than white'

For years, companies have been adding whiteners to laundry detergent, paints, plastics, paper and fabrics to make whites look "whiter than white," but now, with a switch away from incandescent and fluorescent lighting, different ...