Growing motor neurons guided by “love-hate relationship” with blood vessels

LA JOLLA—When neurons involved in movement—called motor neurons—form, they must build connections that reach from the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord all the way to the head, arms, or the tips of the toes. How neurons navigate these systems and “decide” where and how to grow has largely been a mystery.

Now, a new collaborative study between Salk Institute scientists and colleagues at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute in Italy show how blood vessel genes play a critical role in motor neuron development by telling blood vessels to get out of the way.

In the image on the left, motor neurons (green) clear a path through blood vessels (red) as they grow toward muscles in developing healthy mice. On the right, this process is disrupted in mice where genetic mutation prevents the blood vessels from detecting signals that tell them to... <br /><a href=Click here to view original post