AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 3, 2017

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Biologists Find New Source for Brain’s Development

A team of biologists has found an unexpected source for the brain’s development, a finding that offers new insights into the building of the nervous system.

The research discovered that glia, a collection of non-neuronal cells that had long been regarded as passive support cells, in fact are vital to nerve-cell development in the brain.

“The results lead us to revise the often neuro-centric view of brain development to now appreciate the contributions for non-neuronal cells such as glia,” explains Vilaiwan Fernandes, a postdoctoral fellow in New York University’s Department of Biology and the study’s lead author. “Indeed, our study found that fundamental questions in brain development with regard to the timing, identity, and coordination of nerve cell birth can only be understood when the glial contribution is accounted for.”

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