A research team at Umeå Center for Molecular Medicine has identified the signals that coordinate the early development of the central and peripheral nervous systems during the fetal stage. This is of great importance to our understanding of how the central and peripheral nervous systems are linked together into a functioning system.
The human nervous system consists of the brain and spinal marrow, which constitute the central nervous system (CNS), and sensory nerve cells that comprise the peripheral nervous system (PNS). Information from our surroundings-sight, smell, hearing, etc.-are transmitted from specific sensory nerve cells in the PNS to the central nervous system, where it is processed and governs our response. These processes require the two nervous systems to be functionally connected. It is known that this connectivity is established during the fetal stage, but until now we have not known how the formation of the central and peripheral nervous systems is coordinated in time and space.
These findings are being published in the journal PLoS ONE. The co-authors of the article are Cedric Patthey, Lena Gunhaga, and Thomas Edlund, all with the Umeå Center for Molecular Medicine (UCMM), Umeå University.
Reference: Patthey, C., Gunhaga, L. and Edlund, T. Early development of the central and peripheral nervous systems is coordinated by Wnt and BMP signals. PLoS ONE, 2008. http://www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0001625
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