Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Neuroblasts; miraculous minions which can regenerate damaged neurons.

In my previous post, about Basics of Neuroplasticity, I mentioned that most of so called normal person also have some or the other kind of mental/neurogical illness, out of them few realize it and few dont. But all that matters is how we figure out who we actually are beyond whats diagnosed or what we realize we are. Yeah its an long process, which has primary step of trusting our minds again. There are surgeries or medications that can fix the mind and also there are a lot which cant be fixed.
But neurologist or psychiatrists or let it be any "Brain Geeks", these are one crazy bunch, one cure after the other, possible or impossible, they keep on trying to succeed. Well that can be a proof that there is hope for one and all.

One such hope which exceeds everything right now in the field, and thats the embryonic cells in the brain called neuroblasts. These are produced by stem cells in the adult subventrical zone after a stroke and are zapped to the damaged tissue and make repairs. A neuroblast is a dividing cell that will develop into a neuron after undergoing a stage called cell migration phase (which is same as other normal cells by development and maintenance directed by chemical signals and mechanical signals which is activated at the end to form tissue or heal or mount an immune response).

Let me clear few basic things. Neuron, as we know is a basic unit cell of nervous system in an organism. Neural stem cell, these are committed to the neuronal fate, hence form an neuron, but these dont divide, an neural stem cell undergoes a change to form neuron which resembles an postmitotic one. Where as neuroblasts can undergoes mitosis. And another term from which your differentiate neuroblast is neuroblastoma (NB), an neuroendocrine tumor, this is extra cranial solid cancer occurring in children where ever there are nerves.

Other important fact is that the term neuroblasts was actually not segmented from Neuroepithelial cells when it was first found and described. These appear during embryonic development of the neural tube and neurogenesis. These neuroepithelial cells can differentiate into multiple types of cells, like neurons, astrocytes and other glial cells. So due to their broader generation, they are named so, but when a specific group of cells were discovered which had the capability of regenerating neurons alone, to delineate, they were named as Neuroblasts.

These neuroblasts migrate throughout the whole brain and differentiate into whats damaged. An simple example is; when injury to olfactory epithelium due to trauma, or when there is infliction of cold, leads to shedding of those smell chemo receptors, these are replaced by the migration and regeneration by neuroblasts. Other example is, there was a journal published on 29 April 2008 named Hippocampus, in this research article they write that after an hypoxic-ischemic brain injury activates early hippocampal stem/progenitor cells to replace the vulnerable neurons by the action of neuroblasts.

Well, its now possible to treat neural degeneration not just by management with medications, but direct brain to heal itself.