The research was carried out by Assistant Professor Daisuke Kato and Professor Hiroaki Wake (Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan), Professor Junichi Nabekura (National Institute of Physiological Sciences, Japan), Dr. R Douglas Fields (National Institutes of Health, USA) and Professor Masanori Matsuzaki (Tokyo University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan).
The results were first published in the journal 'GLIA'.
Myelin - Axons - Speed - Impulses - Neurons
Myelin is sheath that forms around axons, regulating the speed of electrical impulses and efficiently transmitting them among the neurons. Myelinated bundles act as cables to connect distant brain regions. Once myelination is impaired or the myelin is damaged, the propagation of impulses in the neurons slows down or is dysregulated. This impaired regulation has been linked to abnormal activity in neuronal populations, resulting in learning deficits and aging (particularly in dementia and Alzheimer's disease). The resulting changes in white matter have been observed in the MRI scans of patients with Alzheimer's. However, it is still poorly understood how exactly impaired myelination affects the circuit properties of the brain that are important for learning and cognition.
This research showed that impaired myelination causes uncoordinated or asynchronous electrical impulse transmission between neurons. Impaired myelination was shown to have an adverse effect on motor learning in mice, suggesting that coordinated transmissions are vital for effective learning.
Population - Activity - Neurons - Motor - Cortex
The population activity of neurons in the primary motor cortex of mice with myelin impairments was measured during a motor learning activity usingin vivotwo photon microscopy. Mice with head plates were inserted into body chambers. The mice were trained to pull and hold a lever that would dispense drops of water. Mouse behavior was monitored by infrared video camera. In the early stages of training there was no difference in the performance between myelin impaired...
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