Recently scientists discovered cells in the brains that could divide and become neurons in certain regions of the brain. Till data, it was believed that neurons present in the brain are born during the early development period of a human being, and that these neurons could not be replenished. Scientists are now researching on the functionality of the neuroprogenitor cells. According to the scientists at the national Institutes of Health or NIH stated that the newly formed cells that went on to become neurons were formed at the mouse olfactory system of the brain – an area that is responsible for sense of smell. These cells maintain proper connections in the body. Leonardo Belluscio, a scientist at the NIH mentioned that, “This is a surprising new role for brain stem cells and changes the way we view them.”
The mouse olfactory system in the brain is in the front. This part of the brain receives direct information from the nose. There are neurons here that sort the right information regarding smell and relay the information to the rest of the brain. That is how we get notified of the smell and related information. Problems in the olfactory area are responsible for neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s syndromes.
The process by which the neuroprogenitor cells are created in the subventricular area and migrate to the olfactory is known as neurogenesis. Once the cells are in place at the olfactory bulb, connections are formed with existing cells and are incorporated into the circuitry.
The research is being done by Dr. Leonardo Belluscio and Heather Cameron, a neurogenesis researcher at the NIH National Institute of Mental Health. They are researching on the ways continuous addition of nerve cells influences the circuit organization of the olfactory bulb. They used two different types of engineered mice for the experiment.