Overview: In the olfactory bulb, oxytocin levels rise and peak as new neurons join the neural network. This finding sheds new light on adult neurogenesis and brain plasticity.
sauce: Baylor College of Medicine
The ability to learn new tasks, master an instrument, or adapt to a constantly changing environment is due to brain plasticity, or to reorganizing existing neural networks to acquire new functional properties. Thanks to its ability to modify itself by forming. This also helps keep neural circuits healthy, robust and stable.
To better understand brain plasticity, a team of researchers from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital used a mouse model to show how brain cells make connections with new neurons born in the adult brain. I investigated whether
Their findings published in the journal genes and developmentnot only expands our understanding of brain plasticity, but also opens up new possibilities for treating certain neurodevelopmental disorders and repairing damaged circuits in the future.
“In this study, we wanted to identify new molecules that help new neurons build connections in the brain,” said lead author Baylor, professor of molecular and human genetics and neuroscience, Benjamin R. Allenkiel, PhD, professor at the Duncan Institute for Neurology in Texas. for children.
“We studied the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain involved in olfactory perception. It has a remarkable ability to maintain plasticity.We found that oxytocin, a peptide or short protein produced in the brain, drives events that contribute to neuronal plasticity.”
Researchers have found that oxytocin levels increase in the olfactory bulb and peak when new neurons are incorporated into neural networks.
Using viral labeling, confocal microscopy, and cell-type-specific RNA sequencing, the team discovered that oxytocin triggers a signaling pathway, a series of molecular events within the cell. neuron. When the researchers eliminated the oxytocin receptor, the cells had poorly developed synapses and impaired function.
“Importantly, we found that synaptic maturation occurs by regulating cell morphological development and the expression of many structural proteins,” said Arenkiel, MacNair Scholar at Baylor.
“The most exciting aspect of this research is that oxytocin promotes the development and synaptic integration of new neurons in the adult brain, suggesting it directly contributes to adaptability and circuit plasticity,” said the Alenkiel study. room assistant.
This finding, which is relevant for all mammals, including humans, opens up new possibilities for improving neurological conditions.
“Oxytocin is normally present in our brains, so understanding how to turn it on or off and how to mobilize it can help grow underdeveloped connections or strengthen new ones. This helps keep circuit connections healthy,” said Alenkiel.
“Our findings also suggest that oxytocin can promote the growth of new neurons to repair damaged tissue. Further research is needed to explore these possibilities.”
About this neuroplasticity and neurodevelopmental research news
Original research: closed access.
“Oxytocin signaling is required for synaptic maturation in adult-born neurons” Brandon T. Pekarek et al. genes and development
Oxytocin signaling is required for synaptic maturation in adult-born neurons
The plasticity of neural circuits and the dynamics of sensory responses depend on the formation of new synaptic connections. Despite recent advances in understanding the consequences of circuit plasticity, the mechanisms that drive circuit plasticity are unknown.
Adult-born neurons within the olfactory bulb have proven to be a powerful model for studying circuit plasticity, providing a broadly accessible avenue for neuronal development, migration and circuit integration.
We and others have shown that efficient adult-born neuronal circuit integration depends on presynaptic activity in the form of diverse signaling peptides.
Here we present a novel oxytocin-dependent mechanism of synaptic maturation and circuit integration in adult-born neurons.
We reveal spatial and temporal enrichment of oxytocin receptor expression within adult-born neurons of the mouse olfactory bulb, with oxytocin receptor expression peaking during activity-dependent consolidation.
Using viral labeling, confocal microscopy, and cell type-specific RNA sequencing, oxytocin receptor signaling is newly integrated by regulating morphological development and expression of mature synaptic AMPARs and other structural proteins. demonstrate that it promotes synaptic maturation in adult-born neurons.