AANS Neurosurgeon | Volume 26, Number 1, 2017

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TSRI Researchers Show Experience Plays Powerful Role in Early Stages of Brain Circuit Development

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Findings also have implications for drug development

There are two types of neurons in a healthy brain: excitatory neurons and inhibitory neurons. Excitatory neurons enhance signals the brain receives. Inhibitory neurons tone down signals the brain receives. In a healthy brain, there is a right ration of both neurons. Since these neurons look exactly the same, researchers developed a study to determine how these neurons get their roles. Findings from this study suggest that stimulation from the outside world guides the development of each neuron so that inhibitory neurons split into two different types that each have a different job within the brain. “The function of inhibitory neurons in developing circuits is defined at earlier stages of development than previously thought – and it’s defined, at least partly, by the responses of the neurons to sensory input,” said study senior author Hollis Cline, chair of the Department of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience and director of the Dorris Neuroscience Center at TSRI. To read more, click here.

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