Friday, 28 Nov, 2008 Health & Fitness

Nervous Cells Can Regenerate


By now, it was known that nervous cells restore only in animals. But, recently, a group of scientists have come to the conclusion that, in a certain area of the human brain, which is responsible for smelling, certain cells are responsible for the creation of mature neurons. Maybe someday they will be able to "repair" the damaged brain.

Skin grows with circa 0.002 mm every day. New erythrocytes, some days after their being formed in the marrow, are already carrying out their functions. Nervous cells are different from this point of view. Indeed, nervous terminations do regenerate in hands, feet and skin. A thing we can't say when it comes to the Central Nervous System - the brain and the spinal cord. That's why a person with a damaged spinal cord will never be able to run any more.

Recently, a new opinion, according to which the human brain is also capable of producing new nervous cells, has appeared. This is possible thanks to the so-called "stem-cells". During the intrauterine development of the baby, they are responsible for the process of brain's forming, but later they also solve not less important problems; according to scientists from University of Oakland (New Zealand) and University of Heteborg from Switzerland, these cells can transform into mature neurons in an adult human.

The author of the research, Peter Ericsson from the Institute of NeuroSciences and Psychology in Heteborg, says that they have found a special tubular structure in the human brain, as long as a finger, which connects two areas of a cerebral hemisphere: the lateral ventricle of the brain, where the cerebral liquid circulates, and the so-called Bulbus olfactorius, responsible for the transmission of olfactory impulses coming from the mucous membrane of the nose to the special areas of the brain.

Precisely aside the ventricle with the liquid inside it, those famous stem-cells can be found. This stem-cells reservoir exists in animals too, scientists say. But only now it has been found that, by the means of this tube, called Rostral Migratory Stream, the stem-cells migrate to the olfactory bulb, because it ends there.

"Thus, the human brain can provide the material for the production of new nervous cells", Ericsson affirms. Scientists have previously(1998) found similar phenomenons in another area of the brain, a very old area from the point of view of evolution - the Hippocampus. This part of the brain, related to memory's properties, can also be the source of new neurons.

During the research, scientists have studied the brains of 30 dead men and women. They have used antibodies, which, linked to the stem-cells, made them visible. Electronic microscopes, thus, were able to distinguish the cells and show that they migrate from their reservoir to the ventricles of the brain and to the olfactory bulb, where they could differentiate to mature neurons.

This phenomenon was known before from the experiments made on animals. Thus, scientists from the Center of Nervous System Repair in Massachusets and the Harvard Medical School from Boston have recently proved that different smells make nervous cells migrate to the olfactory bulbs in rats. Which proves, in its turn, that we resemble rats much more than we even think.

Last year, scientists have made the assumption that nervous cells can be regenerated after different lesions of the brain.

What will the results of these studies lead to is still unknown. Ericsson says that, perhaps, in the nearest future, they will be able to have an influence on the stem-cells and make them produce neurons.

Posted by summer_rain

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