Scientists implant ‘artificial neuron’ into Venus flytrap in major step towards putting computers into human brains

Scientists Find a Strange New Cell in Human Brains: The ‘Rosehip Neuron’

A digital reconstruction of a newly discovered human brain cell called the “rosehip” neuron.
(Image credit: Tamas Lab, Academy of Szeged)

Neuroscientists have fabricated a rosy discovery: a new type of human encephalon cell.

The newest neuron has been named the “rosehip neuron,” thanks to its bushy appearance. The brain prison cell, with its unique gene expressions, distinctive shape and diverse connections with other neurons, has not been described before and, what’s more, information technology isn’t nowadays in neuroscientists’ favorite subject area: mice. [3D Images: Exploring the Homo Brain]

An international group of researchers reported their finding today (Aug. 27) in the periodical Nature Neuroscience.

“It’s very bushy,” said Trygve Bakken, one of the pb authors of the newspaper and senior scientist at the Allen Found for Encephalon Science in Seattle. Neurons have long branches chosen dendrites that receive signals from other neurons. In the rosehip cells, these dendrites are “very compact with lots of branch points, so information technology kind of looks a little scrap like a rosehip,” Bakken told Live Science. (Rosehips are a type of fruit produced by rose plants.)

Also adding to the rosehip appearance are the large bulbs at the end of their axons that release neurotransmitters or chemical signals to other neurons, Bakken added.

The new neuron is named after the small, crimson fruits of a rose plant, chosen rosehips.

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The new finding is the result of a collaboration betwixt Bakken and his team and researchers at the University of Szeged in Hungary. Both teams independently identified the distinctive-looking neurons and, when the teams learned they were looking at the same thing, they decided to work together, Bakken said.

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The researchers at the Allen Institute documented the strange new neuron past examining the encephalon tissue of 2 deceased middle-age men. When the researchers looked at the genes of the rosehip neuron in this post-mortem tissue, they found that the neurons acted differently. “There are a number of genes that are turned on just in that cell and not in other[s],” Bakken said

Meanwhile, the team in Hungary further documented the rosehip neuron by studying the electrical activeness and shapes of neurons in brain tissue that had been removed from people’southward brains during surgery and kept live in a solution.

A rare neuron

One reason rosehip neurons eluded neuroscientists for so long is probable because the cells are so rare in the brain, Bakken said. Another reason, he added, is considering man brain tissue is difficult for scientists to obtain for study. Indeed, in the study, the researchers  examined but 1 layer of the encephalon. Information technology’due south possible, however, that rosehip neurons could exist found in other layers, too, Bakken said.

Specifically, the researchers constitute that the rosehip neurons make up most x percent of the first layer of the neocortex — the nigh recently evolved part of the cortex that’s involved in sight and hearing. They also found that rosehip neurons connect to neurons chosen pyramidal cells, a blazon of excitatory neuron that makes up 2-thirds of all the neurons in the cortex, according to Cell.

The full extent of the rosehip neurons relationship to the pyramidal neurons is unclear, but the researchers did find that the rosehip neurons act as inhibitory neurons, or those that restrain the activity of other neurons. “They have the potential to sort of put the brakes on the excitability” of pyramidal neurons, Bakken said.  Just as to how this influences the brain’south behavior, “we don’t really know however,” he added.

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Absent in mice

All mammals have a cortex, and within information technology a neocortex, Bakken said. Only there are near “a chiliad times more cells in the human cortex compared to the mouse,” he said. In other words, information technology makes upwards a much bigger role of our encephalon than it does a mouse’south. And then then, peradventure it’s non surprising that the team didn’t discover whatever genetic hint of rosehip neurons in mice.

“Finding cell types that are uniquely human… helps our understanding of the physiological differences that nether[lie] our college cognitive abilities and may better inform upon treatment strategies for brain-related disorders,” said Blue B. Lake, an assistant project scientist in the bioengineering section at the University of California, San Diego who was not part of the study.

The absence of the rosehip neuron in mice brains might serve as a cautionary reminder that the results of some brain studies done on rats tin’t exist translated to humans, the researchers said.

“Mice have been a wonderful model organism for agreement how brains work in full general and can help usa understand how homo brains work,” Bakken said. “But I remember finding a part of that circuit that is not seen in a mouse that points to needing to study actual human tissue.”

There are enough parts of the brain conserved among mice, humans and other mammals that people can make “inferences about things we larn in the mouse and sort of, at least, hypothesize that something like is likely to be happening in the human being encephalon,” Bakken said. Simply, sometimes things present in man brains are “only not at that place” in mouse brains.

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Editor’s note: This story was updated on Aug. 28 to analyze that the rosehip neuron doesn’t have a unique set of genes, information technology activates a unique ready of genes.

Originally published on

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Yasemin Saplakoglu

Yasemin is a staff author at Live Science, roofing health, neuroscience and biological science. Her piece of work has appeared in Scientific American, Science and the San Jose Mercury News. She has a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of Connecticut and a graduate certificate in scientific discipline communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Scientists implant ‘artificial neuron’ into Venus flytrap in major step towards putting computers into human brains