Gavarrera neurons: a new type of nerve cell

The brain is one of the most important organs in most living things, As it is responsible for enabling the operation of different systems and coordinating them among themselves in order to ensure survival and adaptation to the environment. This organ has long been studied, having been explored and analyzed countless times in every corner.

But while some might think that being something so analyzed may already be discovered, the truth is, that’s what we still don’t know about him. In fact, even today, amazing discoveries are still being made about the royal organ that allow us to explore and understand to a greater extent how the brain works and how it is able to generate so much variability in them. behaviors and abilities.

An example of this happened that same year, in which a new type of nerve cell has been discovered: gavarrera neurons, Which we will talk about briefly throughout this article.

    What are gavarrera neurons?

    They are called gavarrera neurons, rosehip neurons or rosehip neurons (their original name in English) a new type of neuron that was recently discovered by an international team of experts from the University of Szeged and the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

    The discovery was communicated and published in August, and was made accidentally while analyzing brain tissue from two dead subjects who had donated their bodies to science. The two centers discovered the presence of this type of neuron, later working together to study it: while the Hungarians analyzed its shape and properties, the Americans did the same with their genetics.

    Gavarrera neurons are a type of neuron that was found in the first layer of the neoscort, in its most superficial area, and the name comes mainly from its morphology (because it is reminiscent of this plant). They are characterized by being relatively small and possessing a large number of highly branched dendrites, although these branches are compacted. They also have axonal buds in the shape of a rosehip bulb. So far they have been found in the sensory cortex and they are relatively rare, accounting for only about 10% of layer I of the neo-crust.

    These are interneurons that have very specific connections with neurons located in the third layer of the cortex, and has been specifically seen to make a connection with pyramidal cells. In addition, its connection is very precise, connecting only in concrete parts of pyramidal neurons. They have also been shown to have inhibitory behavior, being GABAergic neurons that probably control the transmission of information in a very specific way. At the genetic level, it has been observed that they have a genetic profile which has so far only been found in humans and which allows the activation of a certain number of very specific genes.

      What are its functions?

      The discovery of the neurons of the gavarrera or the rosehip is extremely recent, not yet knowing what their exact function is. However, in the absence of further research, it is possible to speculate on the areas in which they have been found and the connections they make with other neurons. make assumptions about certain possible functions.

      For example, the fact that their action is inhibitory and that they are GABAergic may suggest that their mission is to control information very precisely, and may generate greater control over the transmission of information in such a way that it is are blocked unnecessary signals. The fact that they appear in the outermost and phylogenetically newer part of the brain may be related to things like consciousness, higher cognitive functions or the precise processing of sensory information.

      Only in humans?

      One of the most surprising aspects of this type of neuron is the fact that its discovery only took place in humans, now not possessing the mouse samples that have been studied. This could indicate the existence of a distinctive type of nerve cell in humans, which experts say could help explain the existence of cognitive differences between us and other animal species.

      However, it should be noted that the fact that its existence in other beings is not documented does not imply that it does not exist, Which may be due to the fact that it has not yet been analyzed or discovered. After all, gavarrera neurons have just been discovered in humans: it wouldn’t be unreasonable if they hadn’t been observed or overlooked in other species. It would be useful to assess, for example, whether animals with intelligent behaviors such as monkeys or dolphins possess them.

      Future avenues of research

      The discovery of these neurons has implications of great importance for humans, and it can help us explain aspects of our psyche that we still don’t know.

      For example, the study of the brains of people with different neurological and psychiatric diseases is being considered in order to assess whether the neurons of the gavarrera are present there or could have some kind of alteration. Other possible avenues of research would be to explore whether there is any relationship between gavarrera neurons and self-awareness, metacognition, or higher mental capacities.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Happy, E., Bakken, TE, Hodge, RD, Novotny, M., Aevermann, BD, Baka, J., Bordé, S., Close, JL Diez-Fuertes, F., Ding, SL, Carver, N. , Kocsis, AK, Kovács, B., Malter, Z., McCorrison, JM, Miller, JA, Molnár, G., Oláh, G., Ozsvár, A., Rose, M., Shehata, SI, Smith, KA , Sunkin, SM, Tran, DN, Venepally, P., Wall, A., Puskás, LG, Barzó, P., Steemers, FJ, Schork, NJ, Scheuermann, RH, Lasken, RS, Lein, ES and Tamás, G. (2018). Transcriptomic and morphophysiological evidence of a specialized GABAergic human cortical cell type. Nature Neuroscience, 21: 1185-1195.

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