Professor Fred Gage describes how he and his colleagues developed techniques to measure neurogenesis in human brain tissue.
To measure neurogenesis in animals, people had used a drug bromodeoxyuridine. Bromodeoxyuridine is an artificial nucleotide which incorporates into the DNA of cells that are undergoing division, it allows you to mark, permanently, when a cell divided and subsequently you can analyze how many cells divided in what time since the drug has been administered. While you can do this in animals, and look at different time points, looking in humans is a little more difficult. But it is interesting is this drug is used to assess the aggressiveness of tumors, to monitor tumor progression. So, together with a colleague in Sweden, we looked at patients that had been treated with bromodeoxyuridine to monitor their tumor progression and when they died, their brains were sent to us in California and we developed techniques to measure human brain tissue, to see whether or not there were BrdU labeled cells and whether or not they became neurons and so that was the procedure, the way we determined that it occurred in humans.
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Professor Fred Gage explains that neurogenesis is an unstable process and is highly regulated by the environment.
Professor Fred Gage explains that neurogenesis only occurs in the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb in humans, and discusses why this might be so.
Research continues to show that stem cells could be harnessed for therapeutic purposes.
A gene is a discrete sequence of DNA nucleotides
New neurons in the hippocampus may remember the timing of events.
Evidence in humans that a structured exercise training program increases neurogenesis.
Professor Fred Gage defines the key features of stem cells, which include self-renewal and the ability to give rise to another cell.
The cerebellum monitors and regulates motor behavior, particularly automatic movements. It contains more neurons than the rest of the brain and is a site of neurogenesis.
The DNA sequencing method developed by Fred Sanger forms the basis of automated "cycle" sequencing reactions today.
The dentate gyrus is one of the few regions in the brain where adult neurogenesis has been confirmed. It may play an important role in translating neural codes for creating memories.