Study shows the interdependency between the structure and function of neurons
Bonn, Germany, November, 13th, 2014. In diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, the neurons fail to communicate correctly with each other. As Bonn-based researchers of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) now report in the journal “Neuron“, these connectivity problems can be ascribed to alterations in the structure of the nerve cells. For their study, the scientists investigated diseased nerve cells using high precision methods and subsequently simulated their electrical properties on the computer. In their view, medical interventions that preserve the structural integrity of neurons may constitute an innovative strategy for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
Newly discovered nerve cell shape allows communication without detours
In certain nerve cells, the structure that receives stimuli from other cells is directly connected with the axon, the signal-transmitting cell extension. The previously unknown nerve cell shape was discovered in a current study by a research team from Heidelberg, Mannheim and Bonn. It facilitates the signal transmissions within the nerve cell: The signal does not have to be propagated across the cell