Interesting observations from Prof Mike Dragunow from the Brain Research Group at Auckland University
I was reading about a signaling pathway that Harvard stem cell scientists were working on to correct a faulty signalling pathway in Rett.
Mike replied explaining how the ground breaking work in Auckland relates to aspects of this research.
Mike writes"Interesting article. We don't study the particular pathway ourselves directly but the "antennae" that they are talking about are the dendritic trees that the neurons have. In developmental disorders and also in the aging and diseased (Alzheimer's) brain these "dendritic arborisations" (much like the large, small and very small branches of a tree) become less developed and therefore receive less information.
Now that we are growing "real" human neurons finding drugs that increase the complexity of these dendritic arborisations is one of our most important challenges as I believe that such drugs will be relevant to both the developmental disorders like Rett's and also to the aging brain. We have a special computer programme that can quantify these complex tree-like structures at high throughput for drug screening."