2021-04-30

NIH research provides an atlas for accurately locating neurons involved in neurodegenerative diseases

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The map created by gene sequencing technology reveals 21 neuron subtypes in discrete areas throughout the spinal cord, and provides information on how these neurons control movement, how they promote the functioning of organ systems, and why some neurons are in the nerves Observation methods that are disproportionately affected in degenerative diseases.

NIH research provides an atlas for accurately locating neurons involved in neurodegenerative diseases

This research is by Claire Le Pichon Led by a Ph.D., he is the head of the Neurodegenerative Disease Development Department of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institutes of Health. The article was published in “Nature Communications”.

The spinal cord neurons are responsible for all types of body movements, from autonomous movements such as walking to the involuntary contraction and relaxation of the stomach when processing its contents. Traditionally, scientists have divided these neurons into three main types: skeletal motor neurons, visceral motor neurons, and interneurons. Previous studies have shown that there are other subtypes in these three categories, some of which may be more susceptible to neurodegenerative diseases than others. For example, diseases like spinal muscular atrophy and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) affect only certain types of skeletal muscle neurons.

In the current study, the team used a technique called mononuclear RNA sequencing to identify 21 subtypes of mouse spinal cord neurons. The results of the study showed highly diverse subtypes, especially in motor neurons that control glands and internal organs. The research team also found that visceral motor neurons extend higher along the spine than previously known. The author believes that these motor neurons may be newly discovered subtypes with unknown functions.