Special nerves? special origin
So far, scientists have assumed that in brain development, all different types of neurons of the cerebral cortex originate from just one type of stem cell. After their birth, they migrate outward, building up the layers of the cerebral cortex. According to this theory, only the time of formation determines the later function of the nerve cells. This refutes the current results of Ulrich Mueller and his colleagues: they were able to show in mice that the nerve cells of the uppermost layer of the cerebral cortex are derived from special stem cells, which differ from the mother cells of the other nerve layers.
In the evolution of humans, these stem cells probably played a particularly important role, the researchers say. Although the mouse already has comparatively high brain powers, which are due to the nerves of the cerebral cortex, but for the excellence of our thinking organ are far more of these? Intelligence cells? necessary. However, according to Mueller, the corresponding nervous upgrading in human evolutionary history also had a downside: if the neurons in the top layer do not properly connect, performance disorders such as autism or schizophrenia are the result. display
In this context, the current results could form the basis for new forms of therapy, the researchers say. Accordingly, laboratory cultures of nerve cells of the outer layer could be grown from the corresponding stem cells. These could then one day be transferred to patients for therapeutic purposes to compensate for missing nerve connections. Until then, it is still a long way, emphasize Ulrich Mueller and his colleagues.Ulrich Mueller (Scripps Research Institute, California) et al .: Science, doi: 10.1126 / science.1223616 © science.de? Martin Vieweg