Brain: our hyperactive neurons are born



Researchers at the Pasteur Institute have shown that new neurons born in the adult brain present at the beginning of their life, a hyper, they lose property in a few weeks to finally look to all other neurons.

The team of Pierre-Marie Lledo just highlight a property unexpected new neurons born in the adult brain: during the first twelve weeks of their lives, a period crucial for their integration in neural circuits, these young cells are particularly responsive to excitations and have increased capacity for learning. This sensitivity will disappear, and new nerve cells, no longer any function, find similar properties to those of other cells.

Scientists have also shown that two weeks after training, only 50% of these new cells manage their integration into neuronal circuits, which is indispensable to their survival. Thus, only some new neurons come to establish new connections. The elimination of the other would be a constant and gradual renewal of nerve cells in the olfactory bulb. Previously regarded as a real waste, the permanent production of neurons has a clear role: to make room for young cells.

The discovery, if verified for other brain structures, would understand the difficulties today in attempts to transplant for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In the 1990s, transplants in patients with Parkinson's disease had resulted to a temporary recovery of the motor. If the new neurons do not show properties important for a few weeks, trying to recover some brain functions with a single input cell then remain illusory. Better would be to stimulate the brain's natural capacity to produce neurons continuously.

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