Nervous System Diseases

Time for a new definition

November 18, 2015

Researchers uncover diverse subtypes of serotonin-producing neurons

By Stephanie Dutchen, HMS Writer/Editor

It used to be enough to call a serotonergic neuron a serotonergic neuron.

These brain cells make the neurotransmitter serotonin, which helps regulate mood, appetite, breathing rate, body temperature and more.

Recently, however, scientists have begun to learn that these neurons differ from one another—and that the differences likely matter in dysfunction and disease.

Read more about Time for a new definition

Pain in a dish

November 24, 2014

Turning skin cells into pain-sensing neurons


Human noxious stimulus detecting sensory neurons produced by converting skin cells with a set of five genes to this new fate—enabling study of "pain"in a dish. (Credit: Elizabeth Buttermore, PhD)

After more than six Read more about Pain in a dish

Doing the neuron tango

February 23, 2011

To an untrained observer, the electrical storm that takes place over the brain’s neural network seems a chaotic flurry of activity. But as neuroscientists understand it, the millions of neurons are actually engaged in a sort of tightly choreographed dance, a tango of excitatory and inhibitory neurons. How is this precise balance Read more about Doing the neuron tango

From skin cells to motor neurons: researchers find success with direct cellular reprogramming

August 29, 2011

A team of Harvard stem cell researchers has succeeded in reprogramming adult mouse skin cells directly into the type of motor neurons damaged in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), best known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). These new cells, which researchers are calling induced motor neurons (iMNs), can be used to study the development of the paralyzing diseases and to develop treatments for them. Read more about From skin cells to motor neurons: researchers find success with direct cellular reprogramming