Tag Archives: neurons

Cerebrospinal fluid signals control the behavior of stem cells in the brain

When stem cells from the old brain are cultured with signals of a young choroid plexus they can divide and form new neurons (red). Credit: Biozentrum, University of Basel

When stem cells from the old brain are cultured with signals of a young choroid plexus they can divide and form new neurons (red). Credit: Biozentrum, University of Basel.

Prof. Fiona Doetsch’s research team at the Biozentrum, University of Basel, has discovered that the choroid plexus, a largely ignored structure in the brain that produces the cerebrospinal fluid, is an important regulator of adult neural stem cells. The study recently published in “Cell Stem Cell” also shows that signals secreted by the choroid plexus dynamically change during aging which affects aged stem cell behavior.

Aged neurons can now be generated using stem cell technology

Credit: Jerome Mertens and Fred Gage

Credit: Jerome Mertens and Fred Gage

Diseases of human aging have always been difficult to study in the lab. Stem cell technology always had promise, but when scientists reverted a skin cell from an 89-year-old woman back into a stem cell-like state, the cells became young again. Now, a new approach, presented October 8 in Cell Stem Cell, makes it possible to generate and grow cultures of neurons with gene expression reflecting a patient’s age.

These aged neurons are ideal for studying the differences between the old and young brain. For example, older neurons were found to have defects in the transport of proteins into and out of the nucleus, a mechanism recently suggested to play an important role in neurodegenerative disorders.