Signal blocks stem cell division in brain
from University of Basel have investigated the activity of stem cells in the
brain of mice and discovered a key mechanism that controls cell proliferation.
According to the researchers, the gene regulator Id4 exerts control as to
whether stem cells remain in a state of rest or enter cell division. The
results were published in Cell Reports and may be relevant for treating
neurodegenerative disease in human brains.
The stem cells that have been found to be behind this process are restricted to specialized regions in the brain, so-called niches, which provide key signals that regulate stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. With increasing age, however, the stem cells become increasingly inactive and divide less frequently. The study shows that the ‘Notch2’ signalling pathway controls the expression of a specific transcription regulator called Id4.
By manipulating the signalling pathway, the production of new nerve cells can be specifically stimulated.In this way, brain damage caused by degenerative and neuropsychiatric diseases could be repaired in the future.