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A relay in the brain controls our movements

A relay in the brain controls our movements

Two cell populations of substantia nigra responsible for different aspects of locomotion. Credit: University of Basel, Biozentrum

The relay station of the brain, the the black substance, consists of different types of nerve cells and is responsible for controlling the execution of movements. Researchers at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel have now more precisely characterized two of these cell populations and attributed to each of them an exact function. The results of the study have now been published in Cell reports.

Each movement is controlled centrally by the brain. Different regions of the brain and different neural networks play a vital role in this process. This includes the the black substancewhich has been minimally investigated so far. As a relay station, this region receives and distributes signals to orchestrate appropriately the execution of a desired movement. Using a mouse model, Professor Kelly Tan's research group at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel identified two cell populations in the the black substance who are responsible for different aspects of locomotion.

Correct movement through the team work of neuron populations

The research team investigated the the black substance anatomically, genetically and functionally. It has become clear that this region is composed of several types of nerve cells. The researchers could identify two of the populations and describe them in more detail.

While a population is responsible for launching a motor task, the second population ensures the continuity of the desired movement. "The heterogeneity of neuronal populations in the brain, including in the the black substance, is a well-recognized concept. In our study, not only did we decipher the function of two groups of nerve cells, but we also showed that they worked together to produce a proper locomotion, "says Giorgio Rizzi, the first author of the study.

Movement control signals are interrupted in Parkinson's disease

The results of the study are also important with respect to Parkinson's disease. Patients suffer from motor control abnormalities as some nerve cells degenerate. "What's interesting, is that these cells are interaction partners of the population that we identify as essential to the initiation of movement. This means that the signals of the cell population are not no longer received or passed on, "says Kelly Tan.

In the future, the research team will continue to identify additional cell populations the black substance and elucidate their motor functions. "With regard to Parkinson's disease, we will evaluate the changes made to each network as a result of the disease and its impact on movement.If we understand the changes in the circuit, we could find a way to combat this neurodegenerative disorder. and relieve the symptoms of Parkinson's disease patients, "said Kelly Tan.

Parkinson's disease treatment provides extra power to "batteries" of brain cells

More information:
Giorgio Rizzi et al. Synergistic Nigral output pathways shape motion, Cell reports (2019). DOI: 10.1016 / j.celrep.2019.04.068

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A relay in the brain controls our movements (May 15, 2019)
recovered on May 16, 2019
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-05-relay-station-brain-movements.html

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