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Scoperti i neuroni “Morfeo”, cosa fanno?

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I neuroni “Morfeo”, sono una famiglia di neuroni che promuove il sonno spegnendo quelli che invece regolano il risveglio.

Tale scoperta potrebbe portare a nuove terapie per l’insonnia e per altri disturbi del sonno.

Lo studio di Seth Blackshaw, della Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, è stato riportato su Nature.

I neuroni scoperti, si distinguono perché hanno il gene ‘Lhx6’ attivo, risiedono in una parte dell’ipotalamo chiamata “zona incerta” e comunicano direttamente con un’altra ben nota famiglia di cellule nervose che regolano invece il risveglio, ovvero i neuroni che producono ipocretina, cui deficit sono implicati nella narcolessia.

In una serie di esperimenti su topolini gli esperti hanno osservato che quando l’attività dei neuroni scoperti aumenta, le cellule neurali del risveglio si disattivano.

In pratica quando i “neuroni Lhx6” sono più attivi, viene promosso negli animali un sonno più lungo, mediante la disattivazione dei neuroni del risveglio.

Fonte: Ansa

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