No brain no gain (NBE-E4210, week 8)

The lecture of the week dealt with the wiring of the brain. In other words, how connections are formed and adjusted as the brain matures. The whole subject was quite unfamiliar to us so there was a lot of new information.

The first step of creating the nervous system is the formation of neurons. One of the main things that we learned was that there are three stages in this neuron generation: cell proliferation, cell migration, and cell differentiation. In cell proliferation, a five-step process generates radial glial cells that give rise to all the neurons of the cerebral cortex. In cell migration, daughter cells migrate along radial glia fibers and form the subplate and different layers of cortical plate in the brain. Finally, in cell differentiation, the cells differentiate to neurons.

After neuron generation, the genesis of connections was talked about. The example of a growing retinal axon finding its target in the LNG made it easier for us to understand the process. First, axon chooses the correct path, then the structure and finally the cells. All of these choices are enabled by the communication of cells. After this, the formations of axons, dendrites and synapses happen.

After this core information about the wiring of the brain, it was very interesting to hear about apoptosis and changes in synaptic capacity. Overall, the lecture contained a lot of new concepts but was still quite easy to follow because of the examples.