A new study reveals why some people with the herpes simplex 1 virus experience painful lesions, while others have no symptoms and yet still spread the infection. Researchers say the difference could be a result of how variations in the way certain strains of HSV-1 activate gene expression in neurons.
Teenage binge drinking is linked to altered gene expression in the brain, specifically the central nucleus of the amygdala. Adolescent rats exposed to alcohol had increased levels of miR-137, resulting in lower expression of proteins essential for healthy neuron growth. During adulthood, these rats displayed higher levels of anxiety and an increased preference for alcohol consumption.
S1PR3, a receptor found on the surface of brain cells, may play a key role in stress resilience. Veterans with severe PTSD symptoms had lower levels of the S1PR3 protein in their blood than peers without the disorder.
Oxytocin, a hormone commonly associated with love and bonding in humans, causes starfish to turn their stomachs inside-out to feed. The findings provide vital new evidence for the evolutionary role of oxytocin and vasopressin neuropeptides as regulators of feeding in animals.
Stem cell study reveals a genetic defect associated with fragile X syndrome delays the production of neurons during a critical stage of embryonic development.
Functional olfactory receptors have been identified in human taste cells. The findings suggest olfactory receptors play a role in the taste system by interacting with taste receptors on the tongue. The brain, researchers say, combines input from taste, smell and other senses to create a multi-modal sensation of flavor.
Increased kynurenic acid production has been implicated in the pathology of schizophrenia. The findings provide a new target for cell-specific treatments that help reduce the production of kynurenic acid and reduce symptoms of schizophrenia.