New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience, UT Southwestern researchers find

Posted: April 3, 2010 at 10:57 pm

Story Summary: New brain nerve cells key to stress resilience, UT Southwestern researchers findUT Southwestern Medical Center researchers have found new clues that might help explain why some people are more susceptible to stress than others. Specifically, the cells that these animals produced after a stressful event survived longer than new brain cells produced by mice that were more resilient. The study is the first to link the memory of a social experience with neurogenesis in the hippocampus, Dr. Eisch said. In this study, Dr. Eisch and her colleagues exposed some mice to social defeat by having the animals live in the same cage as larger, aggressor mice for five minutes a day, and in the same cage but with a barrier in place the rest of the day. Researchers then tested the mice to see if they were susceptible to stress. The researchers labeled the new cells of susceptible and unsusceptible mice so they could see how the cells divided. Both types of mice produced fewer dividing cells immediately after stress, but in the long run, mice susceptible to stress had more new adult cells than unsusceptible and control mice, who lived in cages with nonaggressor mice. Dr. Eisch and her colleagues also used radiation to prevent hippocampal neurogenesis in all groups of mice. We are very eager to see if these results carry over to other models of stress in animals and to explore the mechanisms underlying these changes, as these are critical steps to understanding how adult-generated neurons might be modulated to help humans in stressful situations….Read the Full Story

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