New Understanding of Neurogenesis



Not all new brain cells end up getting used. Why do some survive and become useful when others don’t? That’s the question associate professor Angelique Bordey and her team from Yale University have shed some light on with a recent study, as reported in the March 25 issue of Neuron.

Bordey’s team looked at adult neurogenesis. They found that if certain receptors (NMDA receptors) associated with the new neurons are lost, the cells are much more likely to die. (NMDA receptors are key to the transmission of information in the brain and malfunctioning of these receptors has been associated with various mental disorders and diseases.)

The study has implications for stem cell transplantation and brain health education: Bordey noted that stem cells used in transplants may need to be mature enough to possess these receptors. And the general public should be aware that drugs (e.g., PCP, or angel dust,) that prevent NMDA function, kill brain cells and adversely affect brain development.

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