Two New Types of Cells with Unknown Function were Found in the Brain
These are helper cells related to neuroglia: a structure that protects and supports neurons in the brain and spinal cord.
It seems that these unknown cells influence how the brain adapts to new conditions and regenerates. Moreover, these processes are supported even in an adult organism, as ScienceAlert reports.
A new cell type has been found in the subventricular zone, which is located along the fluid-filled ventricles of the brain.
Scientists have investigated multipotent brain stem cells - cells that can give rise to different types of nerve tissue. Biologists have found a special "switch" in them. Its activation led to the fact that dormant stem cells in the studied area began to develop into glial cells, including those two types that were not known to science.
Researchers have yet to understand what functions these cells perform in the functioning of the brain. However, at the moment they have several assumptions.
The authors of the study noticed that when neurons were damaged, both new types of cells were activated. This may indicate that previously unknown glial cells maintain neuroplasticity and are involved in the restoration of neural structures.
In addition, one of the types of previously unknown cells was found in an unusual location in the mouse brain. These cells were located rather on the walls of the ventricles of the brain than directly in the nervous tissue.
This arrangement has led scientists to the idea that new cells can perceive and process signals from distant parts of the brain. However, again, all these assumptions have yet to be tested in the course of additional research.