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Study Identifies New Type of Brain Cell

A new study published in Nature Neuroscience has identified a new kind of neuron in the brain that seems to be present in humans but not in mice, reports ScienceInsider.

The dense, bushy bundle -- called "rosehip neurons" -- were found in the uppermost layer of the cortex, which is home to many different types of neurons that inhibit the activity of other neurons, ScienceInsider says. The researchers found these neurons in slices of human brain tissue as part of a larger effort to catalogue human brain cells by combining microscopic study of brain anatomy and single-cell genetic analysis. 

When the investigators analyzed the cells' gene expression, they found that the set of genes expressed in these inhibitory rosehip neurons doesn't closely match any previously identified cell in the mouse, suggesting they have no analog in the rodent model, ScienceInsider noted. This raised questions for them about whether these neurons are key to certain brain functions that separate humans from mice.