How many types of neurons are there in the brain?

NEW YORK–For decades, scientists have struggled to develop a comprehensive census of cell types in the brain. Now, in a pair of companion papers, researchers at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute describe powerful new approaches to systematically identify individual classes of brain cells, or neurons, in the spinal cord. In doing so, they reveal elements of the underlying circuit architecture through which these neurons shape movement–and highlight how statistical approaches could provide neuroscientists with a critical tool to quantify the cellular diversity of any region of the brain.The papers are published today online in the journal Cell. “Our work allows scientists to assess the diversity of neuronal cell classes in specific regions of the central nervous system–in part by plugging basic cellular characteristics into this fundamental statistical…


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