The new glial cells just discovered could influence how the brain adapts and renews itself, even into adulthood. The development of new treatments may also be on the basis of the discovery.
Although mammals have been the subject of a great deal of research, new information still lies ahead. Scientists have now discovered two new types of glial cells in the brains of mice, namely ScienceAlert is a scientific journal.
Glial cells play an important role in supporting the body. Neurons of the central nervous system are supported by several types of unstimulated cells, which are collectively referred to as neurons (glial cells). These glial cells are usually smaller than neurons, but their number is 5 to 10 times their number. In the brain and spinal cord, they act as a kind of support for nerve cells, providing a safe structure and protection.
It appears that new glial cells just discovered may have an impact on how the brain adapts and regenerates, even into adulthood.
The research, led by researchers at the University of Basel in Switzerland, studied the ventricular-subventricular region of the brain, which can be found in all vertebrates and humans. In mature mice, pluripotent neural stem cells have been studied from which different types of brain tissue can develop. An ‘activation switch’ is discovered, and as a result, the stem cells underlying the area develop into glial cells. Therefore, not only neurons, but also glial cells can develop from stem cells, as the present results prove.
Research suggests that the two new glial cells just discovered are somehow involved in brain plasticity and regeneration, but this finding needs to be supported by further studies.
It was also an interesting discovery by brain researchers that one of the types of glial cells was not found in brain tissue but on the wall of the brainstem, suggesting that this new type of cell might be able to detect signals from other areas of the brain.
The current study could be an important step towards a better understanding of gliogenesis, as it will be important to know exactly how stem cells develop into glial cells and how long this process can take in adulthood.
In any case, the results suggest that microglia in adulthood are more common than previously thought, and this may justify the development of new therapies. If we better understand how new cell types work, we may also be able to use them to repair damage to the nervous system.