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Zombie Genes Grow After Spur Brain Cells Kill

Zombie Genes Grow After Spur Brain Cells Kill

By Cara Murez
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY 2021, March 26, 2021 (HealthDay News) – People stretch for hours when some cells in the brain die, become even more active, and achieve high proportions, new research shows.

Knowledge of this activity driven by “zombie genes” may have an impact on disease research brain.

For the study, the researchers looked at gene expression using fresh brain tissue received in conventional surgery and found that gene expression increased in some cells after death. The researchers observed that inflammatory glial cells grew and long arm-shaped attachments germinated many hours after death.

“Most research thinks that everything in the brain stops when the heart stops beating, but it’s not like that,” Dr. Jeffrey Loeb said. He is the head of neurology and rehabilitation at the University of Illinois at the University of Medicine in Chicago.

According to Yourgenome.org, gene expression is the process of converting DNA instructions into instructions for making proteins or other molecules.


“The increase in glial cells after enlargement is not very surprising because they are inflammatory and their job is to cleanse them like brain deficiency or stroke after brain injury,” Loeb said in a university news release.

He added that the consequences are significant.

Most research using human brain tissue after death to find treatments and possible medications for disorders (such as autism, schizophrenia, and Alzheimer’s disease) does not take into account continuous gene expression or cell activity.

“Our findings will be necessary to interpret research into human brain tissue,” Loeb said. “So far we haven’t estimated these changes.”

Loeb UI is the director of NeuroRepository, a bank that stores the brain tissues of patients with neurological disorders with permission. The tissue is collected and stored after the death of the patient or during the operation. Not all tissue is needed to diagnose diseases, so some can be used for research.

Loeb and his team noted that the patterns of gene expression in fresh brain tissue do not match the findings of gene expression in tissues examined after death.

So they did a simulated experiment immediately after death 24 hours later examining the expression of all human genes.


About 80% of the genes studied remained relatively stable for 24 hours. These included genes that provide basic cellular functions. Another group of genes involved in brain activity (such as memory, thinking, and crisis activity) rapidly degraded in the hours following death.

A third group of genes – the “zombie genes” – became more active as other genes slowed down. These changes arrived in 12 hours.

Loeb said the findings should allow researchers to consider these changes and reduce the time between death and examination as much as possible to limit the magnitude of these changes.

“The good news about our findings is that we now know which genes and cell types are stable, which degrade, and which increase over time so that the results of post-mortem brain tests can be better understood,” he said.

The findings were published in the journal on March 23 Scientific Reports.

More information

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more information on the Brain Health Initiative Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

SOURCE: University of Illinois at Chicago, news, March 23, 2021

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