Neuroscience

Researchers track the birth of memories

How and when the ability to form and store memories arises are topics of great interest to neuroscientists. Now Yale researchers have identified three distinct stages in brain development that occur before episodic memories ...

Neuroscience

Anxiety-depressive disorder changes brain genes activity

Russian neuroscientists discovered that anxiety-depressive disorder in mice is associated with impaired energy metabolism in the brain. The obtained data provides a fresh look at depression development and other psycho-emotional ...

Neuroscience

The most important hair on your head is on the inside

Cells along the brain's cavities are equipped with tiny hair-like protrusions called cilia. Cilia are still poorly understood, but we know a few things about what can happen if they are not doing their job.

Medical research

New insight into the generation of new neurons in the adult brain

Researchers at Sahlgrenska Academy at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, in collaboration with research groups in Finland, Canada and Slovenia, have discovered a novel and unexpected function of nestin, the best-known ...

Neuroscience

Neurons migrate in the nascent brain as if on rails

Researchers examined the brain development of mouse embryos. They concentrated on a pool of neuronal precursor cells that develops in the hindbrain about ten days after fertilization. These mature into nerve cells and then ...

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Neural development

The study of neural development draws on both neuroscience and developmental biology to describe the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which complex nervous systems emerge during embryonic development and throughout life.

Some landmarks of embryonic neural development include the birth and differentiation of neurons from stem cell precursors, the migration of immature neurons from their birthplaces in the embryo to their final positions, outgrowth of axons from neurons and guidance of the motile growth cone through the embryo towards postsynaptic partners, the generation of synapses between these axons and their postsynaptic partners, and finally the lifelong changes in synapses which are thought to underlie learning and memory.

Typically, these neurodevelopmental processes can be broadly divided into two classes: activity-independent mechanisms and activity-dependent mechanisms. Activity-independent mechanisms are generally believed to occur as hardwired processes determined by genetic programs played out within individual neurons. These include differentiation, migration and axon guidance to their initial target areas. These processes are thought of as being independent of neural activity and sensory experience. Once axons reach their target areas, activity-dependent mechanisms come into play. Neural activity and sensory experience will mediate formation of new synapses, as well as synaptic plasticity, which will be responsible for refinement of the nascent neural circuits.

Developmental neuroscience uses a variety of animal models including mice Mus musculus , the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster , the zebrafish Danio rerio, Xenopus laevis tadpoles and the worm Caenorhabditis elegans, among others.

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