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Posted by on Dec 25, 2012 in Science |

Discovery of a new type of nerve cell in the brain

Discovery of a new type of nerve cell in the brain

Scientists at the Karolinska Institutet, in collaboration with colleagues from Germany and the Netherlands, have identified a previously unknown group of nerve cells in the brain . Cells with the capability of regulating function in the long term could mean improvements in the treatment of such diseases in patients.

The study in mice has identified a complete set of this type of in the brain. are developed with the aid of the thyroid hormone, which is produced in the thyroid gland. Patients in which alters the function of the thyroid gland, producing too little thyroid hormone, are at risk of developing problems with these nerve cells. This in turn has an effect on the function of the heart, leading to cardiovascular disease.

In the past, when a patient had hyperthyroidism (thyroid hormone production too high) or hypothyroidism (too low production) and began to develop heart problems, it was believed that this was only due to the hormone that directly affects the heart. However, the new study shows that thyroid hormone also indirectly affects the heart, it does through newly discovered neurons. According to Jens Mittag, lead investigator of the study:

This discovery opens up the possibility of a new way to combat cardiovascular disease. If we learn to control these neurons, we will be able to treat certain cardiovascular problems such as high blood through the brain. However, this is still far in the future. One immediate conclusion is that it is extremely important to identify and treat pregnant women with hypothyroidism, and its low level of thyroid hormone can affect the production of these neurons in the fetus, and this can cause long-term cardiovascular in offspring.

A study has been funded by the European Molecular Biology Organisation and could have been with a group of nerve cells that regulate the heart rate or blood pressure.

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