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Technology and Health News > Thursday, June-05-2008

The cerebellum regenerates

An Italian research published on Plos One identified, in rabbits, some areas where neurons grow as from adult tissue

A new Italian study has identified in the cerebellum of rabbits some areas in which nerve cells grow from adult tissue, demonstrating that repairing damaged to the brain - in theory - is not impossible.

The discovery, fifteen years ago, that even the central nervous system of adult mammals can form new neurons has been a cornerstone of neuroscience and distorting the previous belief that neurogenesis occurs in this animal class, once and for all, during development embryonic, without the possibility of repair after birth. Unlike other vertebrates, in which this process occurs post-natal widely in the brain, in mammals seems limited to a few specific areas.

Now, the study carried out by departments Morphophysiology veterinary and animal and man Biology, University of Turin, coordinated by Luca Bonfanti and published on Plos One, has identified one of these areas, showing the presence of precursors of neural cells all in the internal cerebellum of rabbits and young adults, a region previously considered particularly "static" in the brain. In particular, the research has shown that the areas where new neurons are produced are not residual embryonic tissue, but are centres of alternative generation that arise as from adult tissue already formed.

According to researchers, the knowledge gained so far represents a starting point for understanding how the brain could be repaired in the future if damaged.

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