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