Skip to content

Key molecule in the elusive regeneration of cerebellum synaptic connections identified.

It is known that nerves in the central nervous system of adult mammals do not usually regenerate when injured.  However, the granule cell, a nerve cell located in the cerebellum, is different. When its fibres, called parallel fibres, are cut, rapid regeneration ensues and junctions with other neurons called synapses are rebuilt; the precise mechanism for which is unclear.  Now, a study from researchers led by Hokkaido University shows that the glutamate receptor, GluD2, expressed at these parallel fibres regulates the regeneration of the synapses.  The team state that their findings show that shutting down the gene that encodes GluD2 results in a severe reduction in these synapses.  The study is published in The Journal of Neuroscience.

Previous studies show that GluD2 is a receptor located at the receiving end of the synapse, where the granule cell parallel fibres meet with another nerve cell type called the Purkinje cell, which is also present in the cerebellum. Nerve impulses pass via chemical mediators from one nerve fibre to another through synapses. The granule cell-Purkinje cell synapse, in particular, is where the regeneration occurs.  The current study shows that the GluD2 receptor is involved in maintaining the synapses between granule cell parallel fibres and Purkinje cell nerve fibres.

The current study investigated the effects of cutting parallel fibres in normal mice and in mice that lack the GluD2 receptor. They examined serial sections of the cerebellum under a microscope, and reconstructed three-dimensional images of parallel fibre synapses on Purkinje cells one, seven and 30 days after the incisions were made.  Results show that the cut parallel fibres in normal mice underwent three distinct phases.

Data findings show that in the first degeneration phase, the number of parallel fibres and synapses was halved; in the second hypertrophy phase, the number of parallel fibres remained the same, undergoing thickening and enlarging of their terminals; and in the final remodeling phase, the number of parallel fibres were recovered and the thickening and enlargement that occurred during the hypertrophic phase were dissolved.  The lab state that the parallel fibres in mice with no GluD2 receptor remained in the degenerative phase. They conclude that this indicates that GluD2 plays a pivotal role in the regenerative rewiring of parallel fibres.

The team surmise that their findings highlight that synaptic connections in the adult brain can regenerate with aid of GluD2.  For the future, the researchers state that further understanding of the role of GluD2 may allow the global medical community to unlock the regenerative capacity in the central nervous system.

Source: Hokkaido University

 

The number of parallel fibers (PF) was largely reduced on day 1. Parallel fibers were thickened and their terminals were enlarged on day 7. The number of parallel fibers and synapses was recovered on day 30.  Credit: (Ichikawa R. et. al., The Journal of Neuroscience, April 27, 2016).
The number of parallel fibers (PF) was largely reduced on day 1. Parallel fibers were thickened and their terminals were enlarged on day 7. The number of parallel fibers and synapses was recovered on day 30. Credit: (Ichikawa R. et. al., The Journal of Neuroscience, April 27, 2016).

Healthinnovations View All

Michelle Petersen is the founder of Healthinnovations, having worked in the health and science industry for over 21 years, which includes tenure within the NHS and Oxford University. Healthinnovations is a publication that has reported on, influenced, and researched current and future innovations in health for the past decade.

Michelle has been picked up as an expert writer for Informa publisher’s Clinical Trials community, as well as being listed as a blog source by the world’s leading medical journals, including the acclaimed Nature-Springer journal series.

Healthinnovations is currently indexed by the trusted Altmetric and PlumX metrics systems, respectively, as a blog source for published research globally. Healthinnovations is also featured in the world-renowned BioPortfolio, BioPortfolio.com, the life science, pharmaceutical and healthcare portal.

Most recently the Texas A&M University covered The Top 10 Healthinnovations series on their site with distinguished Professor Stephen Maren calling the inclusion of himself and his team on the list a reflection of “the hard work and dedication of my students and trainees”.

Michelle Petersen’s copy was used in the highly successful marketing campaign for the mega-hit film ‘Jumanji: The Next Level, starring Jack Black, Karen Gilian, Kevin Hart and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Michelle Petersen’s copywriting was part of the film’s coverage by the Republic TV network. Republic TV is the most-watched English language TV channel in India since its inception in 2017.

An avid campaigner in the fight against child sex abuse and trafficking, Michelle is a passionate humanist striving for a better quality of life for all humans by helping to provide traction for new technologies and techniques within healthcare.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.