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Watch nerve cells being born in the brains of living mice

New images could help reveal the details of this neuron renewal

By
2:00pm, February 8, 2018
mouse hippocampus

ALL IN THE FAMILY  A neural stem cell (green) in a mouse’s memory-related hippocampus produces new cells over the course of two months. Red cells are newborn neurons, and orange and yellow are slightly older cells produced by the stem cell. 

View the video

Brain scientists have filmed a first-of-a-kind birth video. It reveals specialized cells in the brains of mice dividing to create newborn nerve cells.

The images, published in the Feb. 9 Science, show intricacies of how certain parts of the adult mouse brain can churn out new nerve cells. These details may help lead to a deeper understanding of the role of this nerve cell renewal in such processes as memory.

Deep in the brains of mice, a memory-related structure called the hippocampus is known to be flush with new nerve cells. But because this buried neural real estate is hard to study, the circumstances of these births weren’t clear.

Using living mice, Sebastian Jessberger, a neuroscientist at the University of Zurich, and colleagues removed the outer layers of brain tissue that obscure the hippocampus. The scientists marked 63 cells

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