Image taken from ScienceDaily with credit to Johannes Gutenberg University
New type of cellular communication between neurons!
It’s well known and has been well established that neurons fire off “messages” to other neurons. These messages come in the form of endosomal vessicles (sacs) that are filled with neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin that enact changes in cell action in the recipient cell.
Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz have recently shown that this is not the only type of messages sent between neuronal cells. In addition to standard neurotransmitter sharing, neurons have now been shown to exchange various functional proteins and even some ribonucleotides (RNA) between themselves.
The researchers postulate that this exchange of genetic material and various lipids and proteins enables the neurons to be more resilient to stressors in the environment, an important function for such an important cell as a brian cell.
The study has demonstrated that exosomes from oligodendrocytes participate in a previously unknown form of bidirectional cell communication that could play a significant role in the long-term preservation of nerve fibers. “An interaction like this, in which an entire package of substances including genetic information is exchanged between cells of the nervous system, has not previously been observed,” stated Krämer-Albers, summarizing the results. “Exosomes are thus similar to viruses in certain respects, with the major difference that they do not inflict damage on the target cells but are instead beneficial.” In the future, the researchers hope to develop exosomes as possible ‘cure’ packages that could be used in the treatment of nerve disorders.
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