When is calcium electrons available for the brain?
By now, the world has heard of the brain’s importance in the human experience.
But a study of calcium ions in the brain may help shed light on how our bodies work.
According to researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, this study provides insight into how the brain can use calcium ions to store energy and may lead to improved treatments for brain injury.
In a new study, a team of researchers from the UC San Francisco School of Medicine and the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (MPIC) used a single-crystal crystal (CC) electrode to track the activity of the neurons of a mouse brain.
They found that calcium ions are highly abundant in the cerebellum, the part of the cerebral cortex that plays a central role in cognition and memory.
“Calcium ions can be found in the entire cerebral cortex, and this suggests they are important in controlling the electrical activity of these neurons,” said Michael L. Janssen, PhD, a senior author on the study and professor of electrical engineering at UC San Diego.
“The cerebellar cortex is very important for cognition and is important for learning and memory, so we think that the cerebrum may be the brain region where these ions are most abundant,” he added.
Janssen is also a professor of neuroscience at the UC Santa Barbara and is affiliated with the UC Berkeley Center for Neural Engineering.
The other co-authors on the paper are Daniel J. Lassar and Robert M. Saperstein, both from the MPIC.
“When calcium ions accumulate in the cerebral region, they can interfere with synaptic connections and cause excitotoxicity, which is a form of damage to neuronal connections,” Janssens said.
“This causes a loss of neuronal activity and the brain becomes unable to function properly.”
In their paper published online in the journal Science, the researchers describe how the cerebrospinal fluid, the brain-blood medium that surrounds the brain, can release calcium ions when they accumulate in cerebellal neurons.
This release can then help the neurons control neuronal activity by firing neurons or switching from one mode to another.
This activity is important because it allows the neurons to control their synaptic potential and prevent the accumulation of calcium in the neural network, Lasser said.
This could help improve the functioning of the cerebral cortex, which plays a key role in learning and learning memory.
The team also found that the release of calcium is regulated by the activity and concentration of calcium and magnesium ions.
In the cerebrain, calcium ions increase when calcium concentration is high and decrease when calcium is low.
In addition, when the concentration of magnesium ions is low, the calcium ions tend to be released more rapidly than those of calcium.
In this way, the concentration and rate of release of ions can affect how neurons fire and the neural activity.
“In order to learn, you need to understand how calcium ions react with the brain,” Lasserman said.
“It’s very likely that we will be able to use this information to improve brain-computer interfaces and improve neurodegenerative diseases.”
While the research is promising, Jansens said it is far from certain that the findings will translate to the human brain.
He and Lasseral said the study will be useful for understanding how calcium and other ions interact in the brains of mice and other animals.
“If we could get a better understanding of how calcium is released in the nervous system, we might be able then design more advanced implants to treat people with brain injury,” Jannsen said.
In addition to Lassersons study, the research team included: Matthew R. Molloy, a professor in the UCSan Francisco School for Advanced Studies; and Daniel Jansson, a graduate student at the MPICS.