Navigation Links
A new kind of rat model

Two neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) are working with local company PhysioGenix to investigate a novel animal model the company has developed for researching diseases like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and ADHD.

The models are genetically altered rats, originally created by researchers at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) as a way to clone genes related to human diseases. Called consomic rats, they were produced by replacing a single chromosome from the genetic background of a diseased rat with the same chromosome from a normal rat.

In theory, if the new strain is cured of a disease, then the genes responsible for the disease are either on the transferred chromosome or somehow related to it. Consomic rats can be used to rapidly identify new genes and cellular targets associated with certain diseases and to develop and test the efficacy of new drug therapies.

In fact, the consomic rats have already proved useful in studies of cardiovascular disease and hypertension the main reason for their development.

The process of identifying which genes are the players in certain complex diseases or behaviors is much quicker using consomic rats than by traditional gene-hunting methods, says Steven Nye, director of genomics at PhysioGenix and principal investigator of the National Institutes of Health grant for commercializing the consomic rats.

PhysioGenix, a spin-off company founded by researchers at MCW, has contracted with UWM Psychology Professors Rodney Swain and Fred Helmstetter to characterize the rats behaviors in a battery of psychological tests to confirm whether chromosome substitution improves their conditions.

The task is daunting, considering there are 44 strains of consomic rats and potentially hundreds of psychological tests to choose from.

Currently, Swain and Helmstetter are probing their efficacy in identifying the genetic roots of psychological disorders related to learning and memory. Insights from the research could lead to a wide spectrum of related research, he says.

The impairments that we saw in one consomic strain are similar to some of the symptoms that you see in human children with autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), Swain says.

Test results so far have shown that some of the consomic rats exhibited increased depressive-like behavior, increased pain sensitivity, lower expression of anxiety and enhanced learning in spatial navigation tasks.

The researchers say their findings illustrate the role of genetics on behavior.

Since my lab has been studying how angiogenesis (the creation of new blood vessels) contributes to better learning, we were very interested to see how this consomic strain performed on a variety of learning tasks, he says.

PhysioGenix, which opened its lab six years ago, licensed the intellectual property from MCW that allows it to commercialize the consomic rats, and the company is finding new applications for them. Howard Jacob, one of the founders of PhysioGenix, is also director of the Human Molecular Genetics Center at MCW. He was instrumental in creating the consomic rats, and was a leader in the rat genome sequencing project funded through the National Institutes of Health. Richard Roman, director of the Kidney Disease Institute at MCW, also is a co-founder of PhysioGenix.

Together, researchers at PhysioGenix, along with their UWM partners, will be presenting three papers at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in November.

Ultimately, PhysioGenix plans to distribute the consomic rats to academic researchers for studying human neurological diseases and to pharmaceutical researchers for developing new drug therapies.


Contact: Steven Nye
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

Related biology news :

1. Study Models Impact Of Anthrax Vaccine
2. Scientists identify new model Of NK cell development
3. Research Using Mouse Models Reveals A Novel Key Player In The Initiation Of Colon Cancer
4. Genrate: a generative model that finds and scores new genes and exons in genomic microarray data
5. Molecular models advance the fight against malaria
6. NYU and MSKCC research provides model for understanding chemically induced cancer initiation
7. Genetic therapy reverses nervous system damage in animal model of inherited human disease
8. Disease progression model of pancreatic cancer developed by Penn researchers
9. A new way to share models of biological systems
10. Understanding biases in epidemic models important when making public health predictions
11. Climate model links higher temperatures to prehistoric extinction
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/2/2015)... , Nov. 2, 2015  SRI International has been ... provide preclinical development services to the National Cancer Institute ... will provide scientific expertise, modern testing and support facilities, ... preclinical pharmacology and toxicology studies to evaluate potential cancer ... The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is an ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... health pioneer, Joseph C. Kvedar , MD, describes ... wellness, and the business opportunities that arise from it ... Healthy Things . Long before health and wellness ... vice president, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare, was creating a ... the hospital or doctor,s office into the day-to-day lives ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Synaptics Inc. (NASDAQ: SYNA ), the leader ... adopted the Synaptics ® ClearPad ® Series ... newest flagship smartphones, the Nexus 5X by LG and ... --> --> Synaptics works closely with ... in the joint development of next generation technologies. Together, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... device company specializing in imaging technologies, announced today that it ... as part of the Horizon 2020 European Union Framework Programme ... a large-scale clinical trial in breast cancer. , ... , --> --> The ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... 25, 2015 Studies reveal the ... plaque and pave the way for more effective treatment for ...     --> --> ... health problems in cats, yet relatively little was understood about ... studies have been conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing of ... team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert Glenn ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) holds the ... (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing to low-cost ... but higher volume share for the region in ... however, margins in the CRO industry will improve. ... ( ), finds that the market ...
Breaking Biology Technology: