Epilepsy retards generation of new neurons.
VIZCAYA, Spain, May 15, 2015--The mission of neural stem cells located in the hippocampus, one of the main regions of the brain, is to generate new neurons during the adult life of mammals, including human beings.
Their function is to participate in certain types of learning and responses to anxiety and stress.
Using an epilepsy model in genetically modified mice, researchers here have discovered that hippocampal neural stem cells stop generating new neurons and are turned into reactive astrocytes, a cell type that promotes inflammation and alters communication between neurons.
This research has also made it possible to confirm the hypothesis in a previous piece of research by these researchers that even though neuronal hyper-excitation does not go as far as to cause convulsions, it does induce the massive activation of neural stem cells and their resulting premature exhaustion.
As a result, neurogenesis (generation of new neurons) in the hippocampus ends up chronically reduced.
Juan Manuel Encinas says "this discovery has enabled us to gain a better understanding about how neural stem cells function. We have shown that in addition to generating neurons and astrocytes, neural stem cells in the adult hippocampus can generate reactive astrocytes following an epileptic seizure."
Even though the work has been carried out on lab animals, there are clear implications for clinical practice and in the quest for new therapies for epilepsy.
The generation of new neurons is negatively affected in epileptic seizures located in the hippocampus.
"If we can manage to preserve the population of neural stem cells and their capacity to generate new neurons in humans, it may be possible to prevent the development of certain symptoms associated with epilepsy and very likely to mitigate the damage that is caused in the hippocampus," Encinas said.
Citation: Amanda Sierra et al.; "Neuronal Hyperactivity Accelerates Depletion of Neural Stem Cells and Impairs Hippocampal Neurogenesis"; Cell Stem Cell, 2015; 16 (5): 488 DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2015.04.003
Contact: Juan M. Encinas, firstname.lastname@example.org
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|Title Annotation:||Basic Research|
|Publication:||Stem Cell Research News|
|Date:||May 25, 2015|
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