A map of the neuron connections in the mouse hippocampus giving insight into Alzheimer's disease and its potential treatments
Researchers have created the most detailed map to date of the internal circuity of the seahorse-shaped brain structure that stores memories, regulates emotions and guides navigation. Called the hippocampus, this is the first part of the brain to degenerate and cause memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease. The basic structure of the hippocampus has been known for some time, but this new atlas will help neuroscientists to navigate this complex structure in humans. Using fluorescent labels and 3D animation to illuminate the connections and pathways of branching neurons in exquisite detail, it also shows how levels of gene expression vary across sub-regions of the hippocampus. This detail could help target new drugs to specific genes and neurons, meaning more specific and effective treatments with fewer side effects for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Written by Deborah Oakley
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