Unique spinal nerve cell activity discovered by Leicester biologists

Posted by pt91 at Nov 08, 2012 05:14 PM |
Research team identifies forms of activity linked to development of motor behaviours
Unique spinal nerve cell activity discovered by Leicester biologists

A zebrafish embryo, similar to the ones used in this study.

Scientists from the University of Leicester have hit upon unique forms of spinal nerve activity that shape output of nerve cell networks controlling motor behaviours. The research used zebrafish because their motor networks are similar to humans.

The breakthrough in the Department of Biology is announced today in the journal Current Biology. The University of Leicester research team was interested in how nerve cells networks dedicated to production of rhythmic motor behaviour (such as walking and swimming) form.

The behaviours were first noticed two days after Christmas and according to Dr McDearmid it was one of the best Christmas presents they had ever had. The researchers say they have a long way yet to go in the study, however, it is believed that long term, understanding of this process might help determine what goes wrong in diseases that affect spinal cord function.

Dr McDearmid worked with Dr Huaxia Tong, a postdoc who co-authored the three-year study which was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

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