NIH study identifies trigger that speeds brain cell communication
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have discovered in mice a molecular trigger that initiates myelination, the process by which brain cell networks are reinforced with an insulating material called myelin that speeds their ability to transmit messages.
The myelination process is an essential part of brain development. Myelin formation is necessary for brain cells to communicate and it may contribute to development of skills and learning.
The researchers showed that an electrical signal passing through a brain cell (neuron) results in the brain cell releasing the molecule glutamate. Glutamate, in turn, triggers another type of brain cell, called an oligodendrocyte, to form a point of contact with the neuron. Signals transmitted through this contact point stimulate the oligodendrocyte to make myelin protein and begin the process of myelination. In this process, the oligodendrocyte wraps myelin around axons— the long, cable-like projections that extend from each neuron. The myelination process is analogous to wrapping electrical tape around bare wires.... Read More - http://www.msrc.co.uk/index.cfm/fuseact ... ageid/1845