ProHealth health Vitamin and Natural Supplement Store and Health
Home  |  Log In  |  My Account  |  View Cart  View Your ProHealth Vitamin and Supplement Shopping Cart
800-366-6056  |  Contact Us  |  Help
Facebook Google Plus
Fibromyalgia  Chronic Fatigue Syndrome & M.E.  Lyme Disease  Natural Wellness  Supplement News  Forums  Our Story
Store     Brands   |   A-Z Index   |   Best Sellers   |   New Products   |   Deals & Specials   |   Under $10   |   SmartSavings Club

Trending News

Vitamin D supplements, sleep could help manage pain

Bacopa: The Herb That May Increase Your Brain Power

Lilac Oil: More Than Just for Fragrance

Eat More Yogurt and Avoid Osteoporosis

Safflower: An Economically Important Herb That Can Benefit Humans and Animals Alike

What Is Bilberry Good For?

Coffee, herbal tea may help prevent liver fibrosis

Crafty Uses for Carrot Seed Oil

Resveratrol Improves Arteries

New research adds evidence to association between omega 3 levels and brain maintenance

 
Print Page
Email Article

Study Reveals Clues to Brain Development

  [ 5 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
www.ProHealth.com • October 3, 2002


Visual stimulation triggers nerve cell branching

Many studies have shown that sensory deprivation, such as a lack of visual stimulation soon after birth, can lead to developmental abnormalities in the brain. This is why parents are counseled to take their newborns on frequent outings to new environments, and why strollers, cribs, and bassinets are outfitted with objects sharply patterned in black and white or contrasting primary colors. Far fewer studies have investigated precisely how visual stimulation drives the formation of new neuronal structures in the brain.

Now, researchers at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory have demonstrated that visual stimulation causes particular neurons in the brains of tadpoles to sprout new branches, and that such branching requires increased activity of some proteins (for instance, receptors for the neurotransmitter, glutamate) plus decreased activities of other proteins. The study--published this week in Nature (October 3)--provides one of the first comprehensive views of how visual stimulation guides the development of normal brain architecture.

The study focused on a region of the tadpole brain called the optic tectum, which corresponds to a structure called the superior colliculus in the brains of humans. This part of the brain coordinates visually guided movements, such as playing sports or eating a meal.

To determine how visual stimulation shapes brain architecture, the researchers engineered individual cells of the optic tectum to express a naturally fluorescent protein called Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). GFP floats freely throughout cells, into every nook and cranny. By using time-lapse fluorescence microscopy, the scientists could observe changes in the complex three-dimensional branching patterns of optic tectal neurons, and could automatically measure such changes with the aid of a custom computer program written by one of the members of their team.

In one experiment, tadpoles were placed in a dark chamber for four hours and then moved into a chamber with a moving visual stimulus for an additional four hours. (The visual systems of frogs, humans, and many other animals--predators and prey alike--are best at detecting moving objects. Therefore, a moving visual stimulus is optimal for stimulating the cells in the frog retina.)

Time-lapse images of single optic tectal neurons were captured during both four hour periods and compared. The researchers--led by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory neuroscientist Holly Cline--found that exposure to the moving stimulus significantly increased both the number of new branches that sprouted along the neurons as well as the length and stability of these new branches.

To determine what molecules were responsible for these light-induced changes in brain architecture, the scientists used various methods to either increase or decrease the activity of a number proteins they suspected might be involved. The results were clear: The activity of four proteins (NMDA receptors, AMPA receptors, Rac, and Cdc42) was required to trigger light-stimulated branching of optic tectal neurons. Conversely, the researchers concluded that decreased activity of two other proteins (RhoA and ROK) is required to allow light-stimulated branching of such neurons.

A description of the precise functions of these proteins is beyond the scope of this article. Nevertheless, the study suggests that by exerting opposing "grow/don't grow" influences on brain neurons, these proteins play important, coordinated roles in shaping the normal architecture of the brain, ensuring that neurons in the visual system form neither too many nor too few branches to carry out their function.




Post a Comment

Featured Products From the ProHealth Store
Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Vitamin D3 Extreme™

Looking for Vitamins, Herbs and Supplements?
Search the ProHealth Store for Hundreds of Natural Health Products


Article Comments



Be the first to comment on this article!

Post a Comment


 
NAD+ Ignite with Niagen

Featured Products

Ultra ATP+, Double Strength Ultra ATP+, Double Strength
Get energized with malic acid & magnesium
Ultra EPA  - Fish Oil Ultra EPA - Fish Oil
Ultra concentrated source of essential fish oils
FibroSleep™ FibroSleep™
The All-in-One Natural Sleep Aid
Energy NADH™ 12.5mg Energy NADH™ 12.5mg
Improve Energy & Cognitive Function
Optimized Curcumin Longvida® Optimized Curcumin Longvida®
Supports Cognition, Memory & Overall Health

Natural Remedies

The Guaifenesin Story: A centuries-old bark extract used for clearing the airways – now key to a popular FM symptom-reversal protocol The Guaifenesin Story: A centuries-old bark extract used for clearing the airways – now key to a popular FM symptom-reversal protocol
The New Dual Activation Pain Relief Cream The New Dual Activation Pain Relief Cream
Prepare Yourself for Cold & Flu Season Prepare Yourself for Cold & Flu Season
The Super Antioxidant for Brain, Joint and Heart Health The Super Antioxidant for Brain, Joint and Heart Health
Strengthen Cell Function with Energy-Boosting Niagen Strengthen Cell Function with Energy-Boosting Niagen

CONTACT US
ProHealth, Inc.
555 Maple Ave
Carpinteria, CA 93013
(800) 366-6056  |  Email

· Become a Wholesaler
· Vendor Inquiries
· Affiliate Program
SHOP WITH CONFIDENCE
Credit Card Processing
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTERS
Get the latest news about Fibromyalgia, M.E/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Lyme Disease and Natural Wellness

CONNECT WITH US ProHealth on Facebook  ProHealth on Twitter  ProHealth on Pinterest  ProHealth on Google Plus

© 2017 ProHealth, Inc. All rights reserved. Pain Tracker App  |  Store  |  Customer Service  |  Guarantee  |  Privacy  |  Contact Us  |  Library  |  RSS  |  Site Map