The Nationwide Institute of Neurological Problems and Stroke has awarded $2.13 million to a College of Tennessee Well being Science Middle (UTHSC) crew learning how neural cells that construct a purposeful mind are generated throughout embryonic and neonatal life. Viktor Chizhikov, PhD, affiliate professor within the Division of Anatomy and Neurobiology, is the principal investigator. Igor Iskusnykh, PhD, teacher in the identical division, contributed considerably to the challenge.
Throughout mind improvement, several types of neurons should be produced in applicable proportions to ensure that wholesome neural circuits to be fashioned. Analysis means that issues reminiscent of autism could also be attributable to these scaling processes gone awry. However little is thought in regards to the equipment that scales the variety of functionally associated neurons within the mind.
On this examine, Dr. Chizhikov’s crew goals to outline the molecular mechanisms that regulate early neuron improvement, utilizing the cerebellum in an animal mannequin. The crew will work to reply questions reminiscent of, what genes coordinate the expansion and motion of neuron progenitors? How are these genes regulated throughout regular mind improvement? What signaling pathways are concerned in neural cell progress and manufacturing? How does the equipment that controls neuronal progress get disrupted in sufferers with mind overgrowth issues?
Answering these questions might assist future analysis pinpoint the place and when neural scaling goes off target, which could have a big influence on understanding autism and different developmental mind issues, and our capability to develop new therapies.