Alzheimer's disease is characterized by the buildup of toxic protein deposits in the brain, so-called amyloid-β aggregates, which cause neuronal cell death. "Much of Alzheimer research has focused on trying to prevent neurons from dying," says Caghan Kizil, Helmholtz Young Investigator Group leader at the DZNE in Dresden, researcher at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) at the TUD and the lead author of the study. "We see an alternative approach in attempting to induce the regeneration of lost cells."
This is a challenging task, since the regenerative properties of the human brain is rather limited. There are some neural stem cells in adult brains that produce new cells, but they only reside in two restricted regions and give rise to merely a small variety of neurons. Zebrafish, in contrast, can readily regrow lost brain tissue.
Mammals - Evolution - Capacities - Mammals - Kizil
"Zebrafish and mammals are related in evolution. We therefore think that regenerative capacities in mammals are subliminally present and evocable," says Kizil. "We can learn from investigating the molecular pathways and cellular interactions in zebrafish and harness this knowledge to better understand how regeneration can be boosted in mice and eventually in humans."
In the present study, the researchers characterized cells in the zebrafish brain in unprecedented detail using "single cell sequencing," a sophisticated method to take stock...
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