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Neurology

New Neurons Go with the Spinal Fluid Flow

12 years, 9 months ago

783  0
Posted on Jan 24, 2006, 12 p.m. By Bill Freeman

Recent research has revealed that brains continue to produce new neurons throughout life, helping create new neural networks. This neurogenesis only takes place in a few specific areas, such as the area in which the brain and spinal column meet. The new cells, however, can migrate throughout the brain and turn up as far away as the olfactory bulb--a cluster of nerve cells at the front surface of the brain responsible for the sense of smell. A recent study in mice has revealed that these neurons make the long and complicated journey by going with the flow of spinal fluid circulating in the brain.

Recent research has revealed that brains continue to produce new neurons throughout life, helping create new neural networks. This neurogenesis only takes place in a few specific areas, such as the area in which the brain and spinal column meet. The new cells, however, can migrate throughout the brain and turn up as far away as the olfactory bulb--a cluster of nerve cells at the front surface of the brain responsible for the sense of smell. A recent study in mice has revealed that these neurons make the long and complicated journey by going with the flow of spinal fluid circulating in the brain.

Neurologist Kazunobu Sawamoto at Keio University in Japan and an international team of his colleagues used fluorescent dye and India ink to trace the flow of spinal fluid in mice and found that it followed the whiplike waving of hairlike projections known as cilia from cells lining the route. They then tracked neurons as they migrated from region to region of the brain and found that new neurons oriented in the direction of fluid flow rather than the direction of their ultimate destination in the olfactory bulb.

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