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Neurology

Growth Factor Promotes Growth of New Neurons

21 years, 4 months ago

10490  0
Posted on Oct 10, 2002, 7 a.m. By Bill Freeman

Several areas of the adult rat brain appear to have the capacity to grow new neurons if a certain growth factor is introduced into the brain's lateral ventricle. Such findings suggest that the adult brain may be capable of replacing brain cells destroyed as a result of injury or disease, thus bringing hope of new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Several areas of the adult rat brain appear to have the capacity to grow new neurons if a certain growth factor is introduced into the brain's lateral ventricle. Such findings suggest that the adult brain may be capable of replacing brain cells destroyed as a result of injury or disease, thus bringing hope of new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Researchers administered a growth factor called brain-derived neurotrophic growth factor (BDNF) into the lateral ventricle of adult rats over a period of two-weeks. After a further two-weeks the scientists examined the brains, finding that new neurons had grown in the parenchyma of the striatum, septum, thalamus, and hypothalamus - all of which play important roles in a wide variety of cognitive and neurological functions. The researchers hope their findings will help scientists to develop ways to produce vast amounts of new neurons to replace damaged or diseased cells.

SOURCE/REFERENCE: Journal of Neuroscience 200l; 21: 6706-6717

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