According to recent research, new brain cells are being formed every day as a result of damage, physical activity, and mental stimulation.
A study published in Nature Communications shows that researchers identified a molecule called ten-eleven-translocation 1 (TET1). This molecule changes the DNA in particular glial cells in adult brains, allowing them to produce new myelin in response to damage. The research was conducted by the Neuroscience Initiative team at the Advanced Science Research Center at The Graduate Center, CUNY.
What are myelin, glial cells, and what are significant?
Glial cells are non-neuronal cells that live in the nervous system and help the nervous system operate properly. They can detect changes in the nervous system and produce new myelin, which wraps around neurons and offers metabolic support as well as precise electrical signal transmission.
Additionally, glial cells also play a role in the development of the Central Nervous System under normal physiological conditions, providing structural and nutritional support. They also play a role in both innate and adaptive immune responses, making them important in neuropathogenesis and pathological states.
What did the project consist of?
The researchers devised tests to find chemicals that may influence brain regeneration.
First, TET1 was identified to be an enzyme involved in the production of genes that regulate the axon–myelin interface during myelin repair.
On the other hand, TET1-induced DNA changes in young adult mice were shown to be critical for promoting good communication among cells in the central nervous system and ensuring correct function, according to experts.
According to the researchers young adult mice with a genetic mutation of TET1 in myelin-forming glial cells were not capable of creating functional myelin, and so acted like older mice.
what are the goals in the future?
According to the researchers, the discovery might have major implications for the molecular regeneration of aging brains in healthy persons.
“We believe that researching the effects of aging on glial cells in healthy people and those with neurodegenerative illnesses can lead to better treatment options for diseases like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease” said Patrizia Casaccia, the study’s primary investigator.
TET1 levels in older animals will be increased in future experiments to see whether the molecule can cause new myelin development and promote normal neuro-glial communication. The research team’s long-term goal is to promote recovery of cognitive and motor functions in older people and patients with neurodegenerative diseases.
The long-term objective of the research team is to enhance cognitive and motor function recovery in elderly persons and patients with neurodegenerative disorders.
Moyon, S., Frawley, R., Marechal, D., Huang, D., Marshall-Phelps, K., Kegel, L., Bøstrand, S., Sadowski, B., Jiang, Y. H., Lyons, D. A., Möbius, W., & Casaccia, P. (2021). TET1-mediated DNA hydroxymethylation regulates adult remyelination in mice. Nature communications, 12(1), 3359. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-021-23735-3
Xu, S., Lu, J., Shao, A., Zhang, J. H., & Zhang, J. (2020). Glial Cells: Role of the Immune Response in Ischemic Stroke. Frontiers in immunology, 11, 294. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2020.00294/full
Gaudet, A. D., & Fonken, L. K. (2018). Glial Cells Shape Pathology and Repair After Spinal Cord Injury. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 15(3), 554–577. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-018-0630-7