How Does Your Neuronal Maturation Occur?
Neural stem cells (responsible for new neurons) are found to exist even after birth in the mammalian brain. Moreover,
where microglia (neuronal support cell/glia) is responsible for the adult brain’ synapses.
Microglia can “eat” (phagocytose) dead cells and are also known to digest extra synapses during development with mechanism poorly understood.
The study team focused on phosphatidylserine (PS), a molecule that usually resides inside the cell membrane, but is found on the external surface of dead cells or developing synapses, where it is recognized by microglia.
“To study whether microglial PS detection is important for synaptic pruning and normal neuron maturation in the adult brain, we needed to see what happens when PS is masked in living adult mice,” says Kazunobu Sawamot, a professor at Institute of Brain Science, Nagoya City.
“We hope that investigating PS-dependent synaptic elimination in mouse models of brain diseases will lead to the development of new therapeutic strategies for human pathological conditions such as autism, where abnormalities in microglia and synaptic density have been observed,” says Chihiro Kurematsu, a fourth-year student at Nagoya City University School of Medicine.