How inhibitory neurons organise across the brain after brain injury
Neurons communicate by squirting neurotransmitters at each other – chemical signals that carry different messages. ‘Excitatory’ neurotransmitters encourage neighbouring neurons to respond – like nudging a friend during a Mexican wave – while inhibitory chemicals restore calm. A healthy balance shapes our thoughts and memories. In the cerebral cortex, neurons that produce the inhibitor somatostatin (SST) are vulnerable to injury. Early in this video a special stain highlights STT neurons triggered by surrounding cells in a healthy mouse brain, while far fewer STT neurons light up in an injured brain (from 20 seconds). Researchers believe injury alters how inhibitory neurons organise across the brain, impacting on vital memory circuits – and they’re looking for ways to restore these cells after traumatic brain injury or in Alzheimer’s disease.
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