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AMP-activated protein kinase is usually unexpected contributor to brain growth An enzyme researchers have studied for years because of its potential connections to malignancy, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, seems to have yet another major part to play: supporting create and maintain the brain Click to see more . When scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis selectively disabled the enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase in mouse embryos, overall mind size was decreased by 50 %, the cerebellum and cerebrum had been shrunken, and the mice died within three weeks of birth. Researchers showed that the edition of AMPK they disabled was necessary to the survival of neural stem cells that induce the central nervous system.