I think ATS may find this to be of interest. While studying Mice, researchers have found a new type of brain cell which seems to defy current
understandings of how the brain works. This new cell, located in the Hippocampus, has researchers intrigued because of its strange shape and strange
properties. It uses a special Dendrite to influence behavior of the nerve cell. Check it out.
Though neurons come in different shapes and sizes, the basic blueprint consists of a cell body, from which protrudes spindly appendages called
dendrites and axons. Dendrites are branchlike structures that receive signals from other nerve cells and deliver them to the cell body. The neuron
then processes the signals and zaps along information to the next cell via a long projection called the axon.
At least, that’s how it normally works. The newly discovered cells have a different, and until now, unknown process. In these cells, the signals skip
the cell body altogether, instead traveling along an axon that projects directly from one of the dendrites.
The new cells were discovered in the mouse brain. Specifically, they are found in the hippocampus, a deep-brain structure involved in memory and
navigation. Humans have the same general brain structure and types of hippocampus cells as mice.
The hippocampus is home to extensively branched neurons called pyramidal cells, so dubbed because of their triangular cell bodies. To map out the
connections between these cells, researchers used a fluorescent red protein that stuck to the origin of each axon protruding from a cell.
The team expected the axons to extend from the cell bodies. Instead, they saw that in many cases, the axons emerged from the branching dendrites
instead. The base of the hippocampus is divided into areas labeled CA1, CA2, CA3 and CA4. The most common site for strangely shaped cells was in the
CA1 region, where about 50 percent of cells had dendrite-originating axons. About 28 percent of cells in the CA3 region were the newly discovered
Brain science is not my area of expertise but I’m sure someone here on ATS will appreciate this information.