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Rose hip neurons: a new type of nerve cell

Rose hip neurons: a new type of nerve cell

May 4, 2024

The brain is one of the most important organs for most living beings , since it is responsible for allowing the operation of different systems and coordinate them with each other in order to achieve survival and adaptation to the environment. This organ has been studied for a long time, having explored and analyzed countless times each of its nooks and crannies.

But although some might think that being something so analyzed little can be discovered already, the truth is that there is still much we do not know about him. In fact, even today we are still making surprising discoveries about the king organ that allow us to explore and understand to a greater extent how the brain works and how it is capable of generating so much variability of behaviors and abilities.

An example of this has occurred this year, in which A new type of nerve cell has been discovered: rose hip neurons , of which we will talk briefly throughout this article.

  • Related article: "Types of neurons: characteristics and functions"

What are rose hip neurons?

They are called hip-hop neurons, rose hip neurons or rosehip neurons (their original name in English) a new type of neurons that has recently been found by an international team made up of experts from the University of Szeged and the Allen Institute for Brain Science .

The discovery was reported and published this August, and was done accidentally while analyzing the brain tissues of two deceased subjects who had donated their bodies to science. Both centers discovered the presence of this type of neurons, collaborating later to study it: while the Hungarians analyzed their form and properties the Americans did the same with their genetics.

The hip-hop neurons are a type of neuron that has been found in the first layer of the neocortex, in its most superficial area, and whose name comes mainly from its morphology (as it reminds the plant). They are characterized by being relatively small and possessing a large number of highly branched dendrites, although said branches are compacted. They also have axonal buttons shaped like a bulb of rose hip. For the moment they have been found in the sensory cortex and they are relatively little prevalent, assuming only about 10% of layer I of the neocortex ..

They are interneurons that have very specific connections with neurons located in the third layer of the cortex, and concretely it has been seen that they make a connection with the pyramidal cells. In addition, its connection is very precise, connecting only in specific parts of the pyramidal neurons. It has also been seen that they have an inhibitory behavior, being GABAergic neurons that probably control the transmission of information in a very specific way. At the genetic level it has been observed that they have a genetic profile that for the moment has only been found in humans and that allow the activation of a series of very specific genes.

  • Maybe you're interested: "GABA (neurotransmitter): what it is and what role it plays in the brain"

Its duties?

The discovery of rosehip or rosehip neurons is extremely recent, not yet known what is its exact function. However, in the absence of further research, because of the areas in which they have been found and because of the connections they make with other neurons, it is possible to speculate on hypothesize about some possible functions .

For example, the fact that their actions are inhibitory and that they are GABAergic may suggest that they have the mission to control the information in a very precise way, being able to generate a greater control over the transmission of information in such a way that the unnecessary signals. The fact that they appear in the most external and phylogenetically novel part of the brain may be linked to elements such as consciousness, higher cognitive functions or the precise processing of sensory information.

Only in humans?

One of the aspects that has surprised most of this type of neuron is the fact that its discovery has only occurred in humans, not possessing for example the samples of mice that have been studied. This could be indicating the existence of a distinctive type of nerve cell in humans, something that according to experts could help explain the existence of cognitive differences between us and other animal species.

However, we must bear in mind that the fact that its existence is not documented in other beings does not imply that it does not exist , may be because it has not yet been analyzed or discovered in them.At the end of the day the neurons of dogrose have just been discovered in people: it would not be unreasonable that they had not been observed or had been overlooked in other species. It would be useful to assess, for example, if animals with intelligent behaviors such as apes or dolphins possess them.

Future research paths

The discovery of these neurons has implications of great relevance for the human being, and can help us explain aspects of our psyche that we still do not know .

For example, the study of the brains of people with different neurological and psychiatric diseases is proposed in order to assess whether the hip-hop neurons are present in them or could have some type of alteration. Other possible avenues of investigation would be to explore if there is some kind of relationship between the hip-hop neurons and self-consciousness, metacognition or higher mental capacities.

Bibliographic references:

  • Boldog, E., Bakken, T.E., Hodge, R.D., Novotny, M., Aevermann, B.D., Baka, J., Bordé, S., Close, J.L. Diez-Fuertes, F., Ding, SL, Faragó, N., Kocsis, AK, Kovács, B., Malter, Z., McCorrison, JM, Miller, JA, Molnár, G., Oláh, G., Ozsvár, A., Rózsa, M., Shehata, SI, Smith, KA, Sunkin, SM, Tran, DN, Venepally, P., Wall, A., Puskás, LG, Barzó, P., Steemers, FJ, Schork, NJ , Scheuermann, RH, Lasken, RS, Lein, ES & Tamás, G. (2018). Transcriptomic and morphophysiological evidence for a specialized human cortical GABAergic cell type. Nature Neuroscience, 21: 1185-1195.

How Scientists Found a New Neuron Hiding in Our Brains (May 2024).

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