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Fluid Surrounding the Brain could be more than a Salt Solution!

A new breakthrough in neurology could lead to focused research in the areas of neurological diseases, cancer and stem cells. According to the scientists, the fluid surrounding the brain (Cerebrospinal fluid) is rich in proteins that are essential to build it.

Before these new findings came into picture, researchers were under the impression that, the fluid bathing the brain was a mere salt solution, which is required to maintain the brain’s ionic balance.

The study was conducted by a group of researchers from the George Washington University and a few other institutes in combination at the Children’s Hospital in Boston.

It was observed through this research that a particular type of protein present in the cerebrospinal fluid, which signals the brain cells to multiply in an embryo, increased in content as the embryo and its brain began to grow.

Although researchers were aware of the fact that the multiplication and movement of brain cells responsible for learning and memory to their destined positions within the brain occurs between second and third trimester of the human embryonic development, they could not find out the process through which the molecular signals instruct the cells to do so.

The team of researchers separated the cerebrospinal fluid from the brains of two week old mouse embryos. This fluid was seen to contain high levels of a protein called Igf2 or insulin-like growth factor, which plays a major role in stem cell multiplication and differentiation.

Stem cells in the brain did not differentiate into brain cells when the Igf2 protein was blocked, which lead to the formation of tiny mice brains. On the contrary, it was seen that the brain stem cells multiplied rapidly when placed in a Petri-dish filled with embryonic cerebrospinal fluid rich in Igf2.

The researchers believe that the role of Igf2 is remarkable for the proper brain growth. This latest finding could be of use in treating neurological disorders in the near future.

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