Researchers in the laboratory of Brian McCabe at the EPFL Brain Mind Institute have found that a form of neuron-to-neuron communication that has long been dismissed as ‘background noise’ is required to keep nerve junctions intact as animals age. The study suggests that defects in this type of neural communication could contribute to neurodegenerative disorders and other brain conditions.

The findings, published in Nature Communications, could have important implications for human health: minis have been found at every type of synapse studied so far, and defects in miniature neurotransmission have been linked to range of neurodevelopmental disorders in children. Figuring out how a reduction in miniature neurotransmission changes the structure of synapses, and how that in turn affects behavior, could help to better understand neurodegenerative disorders and other brain conditions.

Read the EPFL News