Neural stem cells (responsible for new neurons) were found to persist even after birth in the mammalian brain. More than that,
where microglia (neurons/glia support cells) are responsible for the synapses of the adult brain.
Microglia can “eat” (phagocytize) dead cells and is also known to digest accessory synapses during development by a poorly understood mechanism.
The team focused on phosphatidylserine (PS), a molecule normally located inside cell membranes, but found on the outer surfaces of dead cells or developing synapses, where it is recognized by microglia out.
“To investigate whether the detection of microglial PS is important for synaptic ablation and normal neuronal maturation in the adult brain, we needed to see what happens when PS is masked in living adult mice”. Kazunobu Sawamot, professor at the Institute of Brain Science, Nagoya city said.
“We hope that investigating PS-dependent synaptic knockout in a mouse model of encephalopathy will lead to the development of novel therapeutic strategies for human pathological conditions such as autism, where abnormalities in microglia and synapse density were observed”. Chihiro Kurematsu, a fourth-year student at the School of Medicine, Nagoya City University, said.