This fact was discovered by a group of researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Previously, scientists assumed that everything in the brain stops when the heart stops beating. But this study points to a different result.
Now they have found that for a few hours after a person dies, some of the cells in their brain are still active. And some brain cells even increase their activity and grow to enormous sizes.
They discovered a new fact by analyzing gene expression in fresh brain tissue. The study found that gene expression in some cells even increases after death.
Researchers at the University of California, in a recently published study in the journal Scientific Reports, analyzed expression in fresh brain tissue.
They took the tissue during routine brain surgery, to simulate postmortem interval and death. As a result, they found that gene expression in some cells does increase after death.
Zombie genes, whose expression increased after death, were characteristic of inflammatory glial cells. The researchers noticed that glial cells grow and sprout in long arm-like appendages for many hours after death.
However, they found that another group of genes involved in human brain activity, such as memory and thinking, rapidly degraded within hours of death.
A third group of genes, called zombie genes, increased their activity at the same time that neuronal gene activity decreased.
The study found that about 80 percent of the genes analyzed remained relatively stable for 24 hours.
The researchers further noted that the advantage of these results is knowing which genes and cell types remain stable. It will also help us know which genes and cell types are degraded and which ones increase over time. ”In this way, it will allow us to better understand the results of postmortem brain research.