Google Play icon

Lab-created mini-brains reveal how growing organ maintains neuronal balance

Share
Posted July 31, 2017

Scientists can now explore in a laboratory dish how the human brain develops by creating organoids — distinct, three-dimensional regions of the brain. In research published in Cell Stem Cell, Yale scientists coaxed early stage stem cells to create and fuse two types of organoids from different brain regions to show how the developing brain maintains proper balance of excitatory and inhibitory neurons.

Scientists can now study neuronal activity by using stem cells to create parts of brain called organoids.

A failure to maintain this balance has been implicated in a host of neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism and schizophrenia.

The inhibitory neurons migrate from specific areas of the embryonic brain to the region where excitatory neurons are being produced,” said senior author In-Hyun Park, associate professor of genetics and associate professor in the Child Study Center. “What we did is to fuse these two areas and watched the process unfold.”

The Yale team used human pluripotent stem cells to grow an organoid called the human medial ganglionic eminence, which produces inhibitory neurons and plays a crucial but brief role in early development of the cortex. By merging this structure with another that produces excitatory neurons they could track migration of the inhibitory cells, which provide a crucial check on excitatory neurons.

Understanding the process will not only help researchers understand how the human brain evolved, but shed light on how imbalances contribute to many neurodevelopmental disorders.

For instance, excess activity by excitatory neurons has been implicated in schizophrenia while too much inhibitory neuronal activity may contribute to depression, Park said.  The imbalance has also been linked to development of autism spectrum disorders he said.

Yale’s Yangfei Xiang and Yoshiaki Tanaka contributed as first authors of the paper, which was funded primarily by Connecticut Stem Cell Research Grants.

Source: Yale University

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
86,174 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. Scientists Reverse Dementia in Mice with Anti Inflammatory Drugs (December 5, 2019)
  2. NASA Scientists Confirm Water Vapor on Europa (November 19, 2019)
  3. How Do We Colonize Ceres? (November 21, 2019)
  4. Universe is a Sphere and Not Flat After All According to a New Research (November 7, 2019)
  5. Toyota Raize a new cool compact SUV that we will not see in this part of the world (November 24, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email