A new research has been published in Nature Communications New facts revealed about the effects of brain damage. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine, have found that damage to a part of the brain alters the connections between neurons throughout the organ.
Brain injury affects neurons
The researchers focused on the connections with inhibitory neurons, which are connected to excitatory neurons but are more susceptible to damage. Using modern research methods, the team looked at different parts of the brain. Among others was the hippocampus – the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory, or the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain that interacts with the hippocampus. The results showed that the long projections of the distal neurons were still present in the damaged brain but no longer connected them to the inhibitory neurons.
“The entire brain appears to be carefully reconfigured to accommodate the damage. But different parts of the brain may not work together as well as they did before the injury.”Alexa Tierno of the University of California School of Medicine, co-author of the study, explained.
The researchers then wanted to determine if inhibitory neurons could be reconnected to distant regions of the brain. To find out, they transplanted new inner neurons into the damaged hippocampus and mapped their connections. This method brought the first expected results. This may mean that it will be possible to “convince” the damaged brain to repair the missing connections on its own, but the process is not yet known.
“Our research is a very important step in understanding how inhibitory precursors may one day be used therapeutically to treat traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, or other brain disorders,” said Dr. Robert Hunt, Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology and Director of Epilepsy Research. Center at UCI College of Medicine. The UCI team is currently conducting experiments using inhibitory neurons made from human stem cells.
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