Silence for thought: special interneuron networks in the human brain

The analysis of the human brain is a central goal of neuroscience. However, for methodological reasons, research has largely focused on model organisms, in particular the mouse. Now, neuroscientists gained novel insights on human neural circuitry using tissue obtained from neurosurgical interventions. Three-dimensional electron microscope data revealed a novel expanded network of interneurons in humans compared to mouse. The discovery of this prominent network component in the human cortex encourages further detailed analysis of its function in health and disease.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

EpiBlok is developing a gene therapy for epilepsy

During an epileptic seizure, groups of neurons suddenly fire all at once, leading to involuntary movements and sensations. Possibilities for helping those who suffer from epilepsy are limited. EpiBlok Therapeutics GmbH was recently founded by scientists from Charité and the Medical University of Innsbruck. The company is developing a type of gene therapy in which an adeno-associated virus transports the gene for the neuropeptide dynorphin into selected neurons of the affected brain region. The goal is the long-term suppression of seizures, by having the neurons produce a reserve supply of dynorphin that can be released when needed.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Good or bad? – Neurons in higher centers of the fly brain are crucial for the evaluation of odors

Neurons in the lateral horn of the brain of vinegar flies evaluate individual odors and mediate the resulting odor-guided behavior. Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology report in a new study in eLife that higher brain centers are able to filter odor information from the environment and transform the fly’s outside world into a neuronal representation in the brain. The resulting behavior ensures survival and reproduction of the fly.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Rhythmical deep sleep

Researchers at the German Primate Center study influence of anesthetics on brain functions

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Easy visualization of inhibitory synapses in cell culture and tissue with a versatile peptidic probe

Inhibitory synapses in neuron cultures and brain tissue can now be visualized with ease and with high contrast. The newly developed synthetic affinity probe Sylite can be applied both for widefield and confocal 3D volumetric synapse visualization, for in-tissue inhibitory circuits mapping and for super-resolution imaging of synapses.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Study shows how bioactive substance inhibits important receptor

The A2A receptor regulates how vigorously the innate immune system attacks diseased cells. Researchers have now been able to show for the first time how an important inhibitor binds to the receptor. In the future, the results will facilitate the targeted search for molecules that give the innate immune system more punch. These could for instance be used in the fight against cancer, but also against brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Youngest brain tumor patients have significantly poorer outcomes than older pediatric patients

A researcher has found, through extensive data analysis, that the youngest patients with brain tumors — those ages birth to 3 months — have about half the five-year survival rate as children ages 1 to 19.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Stress factor regulates obesity

For the first time, the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry and the University Hospital Bonn have been able to directly link a stress factor in the brain to the cell’s recycling system and obesity. This could enable a completely new approach to treat stress-induced metabolic diseases.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Single protein prompts mature brain cells to regenerate multiple cell types

A single protein can reverse the developmental clock on adult brain cells called astrocytes, morphing them into stem-like cells that produce neurons and other cell types, UT Southwestern researchers report in a new study. The findings might someday lead to a way to regenerate brain tissue after disease or injury.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Astrocyte Networks in the Mouse Brain Control Spatial Learning and Memory

Astrocytes form large networks of interconnected cells in the central nervous system. When these cell-to-cell couplings are disrupted in the brain of adult mice, the animals are no longer able to store spatial information. The astrocytes network is thus essential for spatial learning and memory formation, as neuroscientists of the University of Zurich now show.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Cerebrospinal fluid may be able to identify aggressive brain tumors in children

It may be possible to identify the presence of an aggressive brain tumor in children by studying their cerebrospinal fluid, according to new research.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

How the brain filters out sounds

Whenever bats use echolocation when foraging for food or to communicate with other bats: sounds are omnipresent. How Seba’s short-tailed bat, a species native to South America, filters out important signals from the wide diversity of ambient sound is being examined by researchers at the Institute of Cell Biology and Neuroscience at Goethe University Frankfurt. The most recent finding: the brain stem, which to date had been regarded as being solely responsible for very basic tasks, already processes the probabilities of acoustic signals.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Immune cells leave fingerprints on tumors metastasized to the brain offering clues to future therapies

Using data from over 100,000 malignant and non-malignant cells from 15 human brain metastases, researchers have revealed two functional archetypes of metastatic cells across 7 different types of brain tumors, each containing both immune and non-immune cell types. Their findings provide a potential roadmap for metastatic tumor formation that could be used to design therapies to improve the treatment of metastasized patients.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Widely-used hormone drug associated with increased risk of benign brain tumor at high doses

High doses of a widely-used drug used in the hormonal treatment of conditions such as excessive hair growth, early puberty, prostate cancer, are linked to an increased risk of meningioma — the most common type of benign brain tumor, finds a new study of over 8-million patients.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Magnetic seeds used to heat and kill cancer

Scientists have developed a novel cancer therapy that uses an MRI scanner to guide a magnetic seed through the brain to heat and destroy tumors.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Not all brains are equal: Why the human brain is more vulnerable to disease

With the help of cerebral organoids, IMBA scientists were able to ascertain that Tuberous Sclerosis, a rare neurodevelopmental genetic disorder, arises developmentally rather than only genetically. With these patient-derived laboratory models of the human brain, they pinpointed the origin of the disease to progenitor cells specific to humans. The findings, now published in Science, further show that the pathology of diseases affecting the human brain could only be well understood using human-derived brain organoid models.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Nanoparticle-formulated drug combination is effective in medulloblastoma, a pediatric brain tumor

Researchers have demonstrated that a novel combination of two drugs that act as targeted inhibitors, delivered in a nanoparticle formulation, extend the survival of mice with medulloblastoma. The research team believes this laboratory success could be translated into a less toxic treatment for medulloblastoma, the most common malignant pediatric brain tumor.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Chemotherapy’s effectiveness may vary with time of day

New research suggests that chemotherapy could better target brain tumors in mouse models when it was administered at night instead of during the day. That’s because the blood-brain barrier was more likely to allow the chemotherapy to pass through it at night. The findings highlight the importance of this area of research in humans, and one day, they could help to improve outcomes in patients with brain tumors.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Neuronal cooperation in the auditory cortex

Our brain consists of a right and a left hemisphere. Both hemispheres have different tasks and functions in perceiving and learning. In a recent study with Mongolian gerbils, researchers at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (LIN) Magdeburg, the German Primate Center (DPZ) in Göttingen and Otto von Guericke University (OVGU) Magdeburg have shown how both hemispheres of the brain work together when learning acoustic stimuli. The findings, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, could lead to new therapeutic options for people with disorders in interhemispheric communication.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

The neuronal mechanism behind motivation

Our actions are motivated by the goals we want to achieve. However, little is known about the mechanism in our brains that allow us to make the right decisions to reach our goals. Researchers at the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research (FMI) and the University of Basel now identified the sequence of events taking place in a mouse brain when the mouse behaves in a certain way to obtain a reward, and how it can adapt its behavior when the reward is not the one expected.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

CBD reduces glioblastoma’s size, supportive environment in experimental model

Inhaled CBD shrinks the size of the highly aggressive, lethal brain tumor glioblastoma in an animal model by reducing the essential support of its microenvironment, researchers report.

Quelle: Sciencedaily

Research breakthrough could see HIV drugs used to treat low-grade brain tumors

Drugs developed to treat AIDS and HIV could offer hope to patients diagnosed with the most common form of primary brain tumor. The breakthrough is significant because, if further research is conclusive, the anti-retroviral drugs could be prescribed for patients diagnosed with meningioma and acoustic neuroma brain tumors (also known as schwannoma).

Quelle: Sciencedaily

The origin of neuronal diversity

Our brain is extremely complex, performing countless complicated processes that allow us to think, move and feel. This is only possible because of the enormous diversity of different cell types in the brain, each with a very specific function. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, together with an international team, investigated how this diversity arises. They established a method to analyze the developmental relationships of cell types in the mouse brain. Their results show that similarities in cell types are not a measure for the degree of relationship: Cells of similar cell types are often unrelated. Conversely, cells of very different types can share the same origin.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

How organic neuromorphic electronics can think and act

The human brain works differently than a computer – while the brain works with biological cells and electrical impulses, a computer uses silicon-based transistors. Scientists led by Paschalis Gkoupidenis, group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research, have now combined the two worlds in a large-scale research collaboration. They have equipped a toy robot with a smart and adaptive electrical circuit made of soft organic materials, similarly to the biological matter. With this bio-inspired approach, they were able to teach the robot to navigate independently through a maze using visual signs for guidance.

Quelle: IDW Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Scientists identify malfunctioning brain cells as potential target for Alzheimer’s treatment

Scientists have identified a rare population of potentially toxic senescent cells in human brains that can serve as a target for a new Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

Quelle: Sciencedaily