In the human brain, mechanical stress — the amount of pressure applied to a particular area — requires a delicate balance. Just the right force keeps neurons together and functioning as a system within the body, and proper nerve function is dependent on this tension.
Now researchers at Tel Aviv University say that mechanical stress plays an even more important role than medical science previously believed. Their research has the potential to tell us more than ever before about the form and function of neuronal systems, including the human brain. And they've used the common locust to prove it.
Prof. Amir Ayali of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology, with Prof. Yael Hanein of the School of Electrical Engineering and Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob of the Department of Physics, has successfully cultured cells taken from the desert locust to delve deeper into the workings of the mammalian neurosystem. Their most recent discovery, he says, is that mechanical stress plays a pivotal role not only in the development of the brain, but also its function.
Recently published in several journals including Biophysical Journal and Nanotechnology, this research demonstrates that mechanical stress is instrumental in several key phenomena in neuronal development. Once a neuron has developed, explains Prof. Ayali, it is attracted to and then attaches to another neuron, which pulls it to the appropriate place within the neurosystem. "This tension is crucial for making the right connections," he says.A neuron system in a dish
Most importantly, the team was able to observe the neurons form a network. A key feature, Prof. Ayali says, is mechanical tension. As the neurosystem develops, some cells are eliminated, while others are stabilized and preserved. Cells that successfully connect with one another maintain this connection through mechanical stress. This tension draws cells to their destined locations throughout the neurosystem. As neurons develop, they migrate to the appropriate location in the body, and it's mechanical stress that draws them there.
A meeting of the minds
Although the researchers' choice of insect cells for their investigation is unorthodox, Prof. Ayali says that the benefits are tremendous. The cells are basic enough to be applicable to any system, including the human neurosystem, he notes. If it were not for the large size and low density that insect cells provide, the team would not be able to follow individual cells and track the connections they make. "We're looking at simple phenomena that apply generally," he says. "The development from single cells to groups of clusters is common to every kind of neuron."
The research is unique in more ways than one. Prof. Ayali emphasizes that this project exhibits a truly interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience. The project includes researchers from numerous scientific fields, including zoology, electrical engineering and physics.
Keep up with the latest AFTAU news on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/AFTAUnews
George Hunka | EurekAlert!
Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View
22.06.2018 | University of Sussex
New cellular pathway helps explain how inflammation leads to artery disease
22.06.2018 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...
Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences
22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
22.06.2018 | Life Sciences