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Dopi Neuro- Life, Death and Everything in Between
Department of Biology
Lake Forest College
Good evening folks! I am really excited to get the opportunity to educate you, the future generation of neurons, about your life journey. It has been six years since my death, but I clearly remember each and every event of my life. I am an ex-neuron and my name is Dopaminergic. My friends used to call me Dopi Neuro. The planet I lived in is called the Human Body and my country’s name is the Brain. The Brain is a very important part of the Human Body and controls all the activities. In fact, the Brain has been a superpower since evolution began. My native city’s name is Substantia Nigra, the capital of the Brain, situated in the state of Midbrain. Before getting into the complex and interesting events in my life, let me first introduce you to my passion, my work.
I used to live a very busy life working in the motor industry in Substantia Nigra. My job was primarily to produce the neurotransmitter dopamine. Being the commander of dopamine, my job was to inform them of their specific tasks. I used to say, “I hereby command you to sign the Anti-Parkinson Contract, according to which, you will be responsible for the movement and motor control of the Human Body”, and those cute little dopamines would respond, “Aye Aye Captain!” Producing adequate amounts of dopamine is very important, without which our planet, the Human Body, would lose proper movement functions. A decrease in the amount of dopamine could potentially cause Parkinson’s disease and an increase in dopamine could cause Schizophrenia. So, my dear future generation of Dopaminergic neurons, your work is your highest priority. Now, let me take you through the journey of my life, which can rightly be called a roller coaster ride.
My birth was a very interesting process called neurogenesis. Many of the newborn neurons died shortly after they were born, but some lucky ones, like me, were functionally integrated into specific brain regions. A neural plate grows before the birth of the Human Body. The neural plate ultimately develops into the Nervous System, which can be called the continent where the Brain is situated. My country, the Brain, develops from the neural groove that grows later. At the third week of embryonic development, three regions are formed inside the Brain. These regions are named as the forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain. Being neighboring states, all three work together, but have different industries and functions that control different behaviors of the Human Body.
Early in your life, you will have to go through migration where my fellow neurons and I were sent to our respective states. This process is very crucial but do not worry, all of the cells accompanying you are very helpful and friendly. I remember from my experience that I lost my way and a traffic policeman came to help me. The badge on his uniform read, “Radial Glia”. He said in a deep voice, “Excuse me sir, can I get your identification card please?” I quickly showed him my DNA, which read that I was assigned to go to the Midbrain. Radial Glia then escorted me throughout my migration dendrites, the parts of the neuron responsible for synaptic process. You all will also have a weird structure attached at your back. Don’t get petrified, it is not a pimple, it is a growth cone. A growth cone regulates the growth of axons and connections.
As neurons, you will need to be social in order to work efficiently and developing communication skills. The Human Body starts motor coordination even before it is born. Therefore, you have to be active before birth and work hard. I know child labor is evil but you have to work to make sure that the human body is moving and performing all the vital functions. As the Human Body develops, it starts to perform more complex motor activity. When the Human Body I was living in started to walk, all of us had to work extra hours. The amount of work increased when the Human Body started to perform intricate movements like dancing, running, and gripping. I was really stressed but there was no compromise on my quality of work. Time passed by and I was satisfied and content with the way I was working. It wasn’t until the Human Body’s fiftieth birthday that things started to turn ghastly.
All of the neurons were ecstatic on completing fifty years of dedication to the Human Body. I was celebrating with other neurons during work when I got the news of the death some Dopaminergic neurons. There was chaos all around the Substantia Nigra. According to the news, army soldiers called Polyamines became terrorists and took over the city killing Dopaminergic neurons. All of us were confused because Polyamines were always considered beneficial for the Human Body because of their service in the military. I read in the Eukaryon magazine that a large number of these Polyamines were being produced and they were labeled as terrorists because they wanted to kill all the Dopaminergic neurons. As a result, the human body was not able to control its movement and motor functions. Something had to be done, as soon as possible, to save all of us.
The Human Body was in immense crisis as the headlines in Eukaryon read, “The spread of Parkinson’s crisis in the Human Body: Is there any way out?” Depressed, I was working one day when I saw a strange doctor. I quickly asked, “Hey! What are you doing with my dopamines?” He quickly responded, “Hey Sir! I assume you are Dopaminergic neuron. My name is Dr. L-DOPA and I have been sent into the brain by the Doctors without Borders organization of the Human Body to fill in the deficiency of dopamine in the Brain. More of my colleagues will be coming in a while after they cross the blood-brain barrier. Congratulations! We will be able to get the Human Body out of the Parkinson’s crisis.” It was one of the happiest moments of my life. The movement of the Human Body actually started to improve. We were all delighted and trusted Dr. L-DOPA completely. But it was not long until I realized that having complete confidence in Dr.L-DOPA’s abilities to cure Parkinson’s was a huge mistake.
The movement disorder in the Human Body improved just for a small period of time. The Parkinson’s signs started to appear and dopamine became deficient again. The Human Body became tolerant to the therapies by Dr. L-DOPA and he resigned from his job. Polyamines broke into my house and attacked me as well. On my deathbed, I was informed by my wife that a new technology of deep brain stimulation (DBS) can stimulate the motor functions of the Human Body, it was too late for me though. I eventually died on September 3rd, 2005 due to destroyed nerve fibers, but the DBS technology worked and the Human Body was able to regulate its motor functions once again. I hope this new technology helps you all to have a different life than me, for the maintenance of the Human Body.
Book, “Birth, Life and Death of Dopaminergic neurons in the Substantia Nigra” by G Di Giovanni in 2009.
“Life and Death of a Neuron”, published by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in 2005.
Eukaryon is published by students at Lake Forest College, who are solely responsible for its content. The views expressed in Eukaryon do not necessarily reflect those of the College.
Articles published within Eukaryon should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.