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Shedding new light on the organization of the human brain – Neuroscience News

Summary: A new map of the human brain reveals that cells, receptors, and gene activity change along the same boundaries.

source: human brain project

Specific cellular, molecular, and genetic expression patterns in brain regions are associated with function, but their exact relationships remain largely unknown.

New findings by scientists at the Human Brain Project (HBP) shed light on these relationships and enable a more comprehensive understanding of the organization of the human brain.

HBP researchers conducted a study that targeted three levels of cortical regulation: cellular architecture, neurotransmitter receptor architecture, and neurotransmitter receptor gene expression.

The study illustrates the principles of organizing the human brain across the functional visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor systems, going beyond the simplistic view of the “mosaic” of regions that make up the neocortex.

The results were published in the journal Neuroimaging.

To reveal the different characteristics of functional systems, and how brain regions within a functional system differ in relation to the processing hierarchy — from basic to higher associative — the team analyzed cytoarchitectural and receptor data from Julich Brain — a three-dimensional multimedia atlas of the human brain — and compared the data with the data Transcriptomia from the Allen Human Brain Atlas.

“Bridging the gaps between the different levels of brain organization is one of the biggest challenges in neuroscience today. At Julich Brain Atlas we can do this systematically. It integrates data and is an invaluable tool,” says Daniel Zaclod, first author of the study.

The researchers studied the relationship between neurotransmitter receptor densities and their corresponding genes in 15 cellular architectural regions of the visual, auditory, somatosensory, and motor systems. They analyzed differential gene expression within brain regions for each of these functional systems.

“We have found that receptor structure and gene expression patterns within a functional system change in a systematic manner, consistent with increased complexity of information processing,” explains Catherine Amonts, Scientific Director of HBP, and author of the latest study.

Analyzed regions: visual system (violet line), auditory (orange line), motor region (dark grey), and somatosensory region (green line). Credit: The Human Brain Project

The study demonstrates a method for unraveling relationships between structure and function using a multilevel Julich-Brain atlas bridging different scales of brain organization.

Previous studies have already indicated the importance of receptor gene expression in functional brain differentiation in rodents, but the data on the human brain are very few and more fragmented.

The authors of this study argue that it is necessary to extend these studies to the human brain, in order to better understand the healthy brain, as well as the pathogenesis of brain disorders with changes in neurotransmitter systems.

About this brain mapping news

author: Helen Mendes
source: human brain project
Contact: Helen Mendes – The Human Brain Project
picture: The image is in the public domain

original search: open access.
“Co-analysis of cellular, molecular, and transcriptional architectural patterns reveals differences in brain organization across functional human brain systems” by Daniel Zachlod et al. NeuroImage

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Summary

Combined analysis of cellular, molecular, and transcriptional architectural patterns reveals differences in brain organization across functional human brain systems

Brain regions show specific cellular, molecular, and genetic expression patterns associated with function, but their exact relationships are largely unknown.

To unravel these structure-function relationships, a combined analysis of 53 neurotransmitter receptor genes, receptor densities of six transmission systems and cellular architecture data of the auditory, somatosensory, visual, and motor systems were performed.

Besides the variation in areal gene expression with receptor density, the study reveals specific patterns of gene expression in functional systems, which are more prominent in the inhibitory GABA.a and excitatory glutamatergic receptors.

Moreover, gene expression receptor relationships changed in a systematic manner according to the flow of information from the primary associative regions to the higher associative regions.

The results shed new light on the relationship between anatomical, functional, molecular, and transcriptional principles of cortical segregation toward a more comprehensive understanding of human brain organization.

2022-06-02 19:11:48

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