Differentiated neural cells (brain cells) are
characterized by their lack of cell division
(mitosis) as you described in your question.
Cell division is a highly regulated process with
different factors in the cell that tell the cell
to start dividing. These factors include
cyclins, which are proteins that are involved in
cell cycle progression. These cyclins are
regulated by other proteins that turn cyclin
activity on or off. Interestingly, the molecular
signals that initiate mitosis are actually
produced in brain cells but may not necessarily
be active or be located in the wrong area of the
cell. Initiation of cell division requires these
factors to enter the nucleus where the DNA is.
However, if the factors remain in the cytoplasm
they will not cause mitosis to occur.
Researchers believe that diseases such as
Alzheimers may actually be caused neurons that
accidentally start dividing again. The cells
start dividing but are not prepared to divide,
resulting in incomplete division and cell death.
Thus, inducing mitosis may actually cause more
harm than good. Instead, increasing the amount
of neural stem cells (undifferentiated cells
that have the potential to become neurons) or
inducing these neural stem cells to become
differentiated neurons may help to replace
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