New neurons grown in forebrain

September 4, 2001 | Source: KurzweilAI

New neurons are able to grow in the forebrain when stimulated by growth factor, Emory University researchers have demonstrated. The study is the first to show the presence of numerous new neurons in certain regions of the brain where they previously have not been found, and suggests that the adult brain may be able to replace neurons lost due to injury or disease. The results were published in the September 1 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

The Emory scientists administered the growth factor BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor) into the lateral ventricle of the brains of adult rats for approximately two weeks, and waited another two weeks before they examined the brains for the presence of new cells.

They detected newly generated neurons in several forebrain structures, including in the parenchyma (gray matter) of the striatum, septum, thalamus and hypothalamus — areas that serve a multitude of cognitive and vital neurological functions.

The researchers hope their findings may reveal novel ways of producing large numbers of new neurons to replace diseased or damaged cells in localized parts of the brain.