Anything from watching a movie to picking up a new song or language, we learn and experience things while our brains remodel and physically adapt to them. This is known as Brain Plasticity.
While working with brain plasticity, researchers have developed a tool that monitors and measures brain plasticity i.e. learning curve, by tracking the proteins made by the brain cells in a mouse model.
How does it work?
- The team injected an amino acid with a specific tag, azidonorleucine, into one type of neuron at a time. This made it easier to distinguish newly made proteins from pre-existing ones.
- The team concentrated on cortical glutamatergic neurons, a significant class of brain cells in charge of processing sensory data. Upon increased neural activity, 300 different potion change was observed.
- A few of the proteins were also connected to the way DNA is stored inside of brain cells; altering this storage can alter the genes which a cell can access and use for a long time. This raises the possibility that a brief increase in brain activity may trigger longer-lasting brain remodeling.
A peep into the future
By employing this technique, the researchers expect to identify and investigate more possible plasticity proteins, such as those that might alter various types of brain cells in response to new visual stimuli in animals and measure the learning curve.
This tool will also be able to compare how brain activity affects protein creation in young versus elderly and healthy versus diseased brains, their technology may also provide insight into brain disorders and aging.