“My paper establishes the existence of the RMS in the human brain.”- Peter Eriksson
Peter Eriksson (June 5, 1959- August 2,2007) was a Professor of Neurology at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Sweden. He is known for his collaboration with Fred Gage at the Salk Institute on experiments that demonstrated the occurrence of neurogenesis within the adult human hippocampus in 1998. His later research also provided evidence in support of the existence of a migratory path (RMS) for neuroblasts (neuronal stem cells) from the Subventricular zone (their place of origin) to the olfactory bulb. With this evidence to further support the occurrence of neurogenesis in the adult brain, it is now a matter of utilizing this information to study neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease. For example, with this information, Eriksson believes that the number of new neurons formed within the olfactory bulb can be related to Parkinson’s, as inability to detect certain scents is an indicator of this condition.
The collaborative efforts of Gage and Eriksson in 1998 evaluated the human hippocampus in cancer patients. The study utilized BrdU labeling of cancer patients, the usage of several neuronal markers, and the usual immunohistochemical techniques. This initial study concluded that the human dentate gyrus of the hippocampus does have the ability to generate new neurons throughout the adult life. In his study of the RMS in humans, Eriksson utilized neuronal markers, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and electron microscopy in order to determine not only its existance but its exact location. While these are all common methodologies in the field of neurogenesis, Eriksson & Gage have also used an interesting, however uncommon, technique to evaluate the presence of neurogenesis within the neocortex. In 2004, they were involved in a study which utilized 14C, generated by atomic bomb tests during the Cold War, in order to determine neuronal age of those neurons present within the neocortex. This study demonstrated that while neurogenesis does occur, where it occurs is limited, and its presence within the neocortex still needs to be further investigated.
Swaminathan, Nikhail. NewCellsfromOldBrains.,February15,2007.
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