A recent study published in the journal Cell Reports found out that the sense of smell declines in mammals when they age. The sense of smell is associated with the activity of olfactory neurons. Neurogenesis is the process of generating new neurons which is limited to childhood. Olfactory neurons are generally formed by stem cells in several intermediate stages of human development.
Dr. Carsten Marr, extensively studied the stem cells activities associated with generation of these neurons in mice. Dr. Marr is a research group leader from the institute of Computational Biology of Helmholtz Zentrum Munchen. Along with him, a group of stem cell researchers including mathematicians shed light on tracing mice brain activities through a systematic analysis. They introduced individual stem cells with their descendants in the form of clones. These clones lit up in specific colors in images according to the variety of their original stem cells. In this way, scientists carried out experiments by distinguishing clones over time by associating them with different colors.
Artificial Intelligence Used to Compare Cells Activity in Human Brains
With the help of artificial intelligence, algorithms, and mathematical models, researchers compared the measurements of neurogenesis between mice and human brains. After in-depth research, they have concluded that the ability of self-renewal deteriorates in certain intermediate stages in mammals. Incorporation of AI also helped them understand that the olfactory cells in old age becomes less active. This was followed by fewer cells differentiating into olfactory cells when mammals age.
The comparison between clones found in older and younger mice is expected to open new doors to find stem cells activity. This study could make researchers gain more knowledge about the contribution of intermediates and individual stem cells. Consequently, this could unravel an in-depth understanding about neurogenesis in maturing olfactory cells.