After brain damage, the damaged neurons regress to an embryonic stage

After brain damage, the damaged neurons regress to an embryonic stage

Repairing brain and spinal cord damage is one of the major challenges of modern medicine. It appears that the process of regression to an embryonic stage of the cells, following a brain damage, is fundamental for the compensation of the damage itself.


Advertising message Until a few years ago, it was thought that the brain was “static” in the sense that, once neurons were lost due to brain damage, there was no way to have more, and that those neurons were now lost to always, the victim’s only hope was to be able to partially recover the lost cognitive functions, thanks to the brain plasticity that allows the formation of new connections (synapses) between the neurons, so that they compensate (in part) for the damage suffered ( Daniel & Allison, 2019).

According to new findings published in Nature on April 15, 2020 by researchers at the University of California at the San Diego School of Medicine, when adult brain cells are damaged they return to embryonic state. Scientists report that, once regressed to an embryonic stage, cells regain the ability to create new connections, a fundamental process for brain damage compensation (Gunnar & Mark, 2020).

Repairing brain and spinal cord damage is one of the main challenges of modern medicine, until relatively recently, it was considered an impossible challenge; the new study outlines a “transcriptional roadmap of regeneration in the adult brain” (Gunnar & Mark, 2020).

Using the incredible tools of neuroscience and molecular genetics, the researchers were able to identify how the whole set of genes in an adult brain cell reset itself to regenerate itself. This provides a fundamental insight into how regeneration occurs at the transcriptional level (Gunnar & Mark, 2020).

The paradigmatic revolution began when researchers discovered that new brain cells are constantly being produced in the hippocampus and subventricular area and are then directed to various brain regions throughout life (Daniel & Allison, 2019).

Advertising message However, with the new study published in Nature, entitled Injured adult neurons regress to an embryonic transcriptional growth state, it is outlined that the brain’s ability to repair or replace itself is not limited to only two areas, given that when a cell adult cerebral cortex is injured, returns (transcriptionally) to be a cortical embryonic neuron, which gives it the ability to adapt and recreate synapses to resume its brain function. But the cell does not always go through this process of regaining its growth capacities, in fact an environment that favors its process is necessary (Gunnar & Mark, 2020).

In light of this discovery, therefore, the challenge of finding a way to promote the environment capable of stimulating the embryonic neuron to start again is revealed in front of researchers.

Experiments are already underway on mice, which through the modification of specific genes, try to reproduce an environment suitable for the growth of the embryonic neuron (Gunnar & Mark, 2020).