One of the most tragic elements of stroke and traumatic brain injury is that the neurons we lose never regenerate. This means that, depending on the location of the damage, patients may experience long-term impairments in critical motor or cognitive skills, including language and memory.
However, the brain can make new neural stem cells, which are individual cells that partially activate in reaction to tissue damage. Unfortunately, while many cells begin the regeneration process, only a small percentage of stem cells fully start.
As a result, only a few newly formed neurons are created, and even fewer survive to repopulate the injured region. Instead, it is loaded with glia, a common type of brain cell that serves as the nervous system’s “glue.”
What can we do to Improve Neuronal Regeneration?
A study published in Developmental Cell may suggest the way forward. Scientists from Portugal’s Champalimaud Foundation found a novel method through which neurons and glia work together to promote this process.
“We’ve discovered how brain stem cells detect harm and are recruited to restore tissue.” These discoveries could pave the way for medications that encourage the production of new neurons after brain trauma, according to the researchers.
Rhiner’s team used to fly and mouse animal models to figure out how brain regeneration works. “Their brains, like ours, contain neural stem cells,” she noted.
“In addition, humans, flies, and mice share many signaling molecules and modes of intercellular communication. As a result, the insights gained from these animal models are anticipated to apply to human physiology.”
As reported by neuroscience, Anabel Simes, a Ph.D. student in the lab, began by enquiring about the compounds found in the wounded brain area. One, in particular, struck her eye among the many.