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Brain Circuits May Stimulate Production of Specific Neuron Subtypes

07:11 EDT 19 Jun 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

Long-distance connections in the adult brain may dial up stem-cell niches and order the delivery of particular types of neurons. Of all the brain’s stem-cell niches, the largest is the ventricular–subventricular zone (V-SVZ), which supplies neurons to the olfactory bulb. While the olfactory bulb’s densely interwoven network of neurons has been known to be important for distinguishing odors, it may also play a role in recruiting distinct neural stem cell (NSC) pools. That is, olfactory stimuli, in response to environmental and physiological signals, may drive “on-demand” adult neurogenesis. Not to be put off the scent of a new discovery, scientists based at the University of Basel observed that in mice, long-distance brain connections can target discrete pools of stem cells in a particular niche and stimulate them to divide and produce specific subtypes of olfactory bulb neurons. These scientists, led by Fiona Doetsch, Ph.D., reported their results June ...

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