Navigation Links
Human Brain Cells Used to Make Mice Smarter
Date:3/7/2013

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- Implanting a type of human brain cell into newborn mice makes them "smarter" as adults, scientists have found -- an achievement experts say could aid in understanding and treating human brain diseases.

It sounds a bit like science fiction, but many studies have looked at the effects of implanting rodent brains with human cells, said Paul Sanberg, a professor of neuroscience at the University of South Florida, in Tampa.

What's new here is that researchers were able to implant mice with human brain cells called glial cells, see those cells mature and act like human ones, and see the effects on the mice's learning, said Sanberg, who was not involved in the research.

"That's exciting," he said. "The cells were still functioning like human cells, and they actually enhanced aspects of learning."

The goal, though, is not to create brainy mice. The hope is to open up new ways to understand human brain diseases and develop therapies for them, said Dr. Steven Goldman, chairman of neurology at the University of Rochester, in New York, and one of the researchers on the study.

Human brains have different types of cells. Neurons are considered the workhorses, sending electrical and chemical signals to each other. Glial cells are seen as "support" cells that help transfer information among neurons.

But the relative size of glial cells in the human brain is bigger compared to non-primate animals. Humans also have more of them, and greater diversity in them, Goldman said. It has been thought that the evolution of glial cells may have been important to allowing humans to become as smart as they are.

The new findings, which appear in the March 7 issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, support that theory.

Sanberg said there has already been a growing appreciation of the importance of glial cells in degenerative brain diseases. Multiple sclerosis is the "classic example of a glial disease," he said. But research suggests impaired glial cells are involved in an array of disorders, including Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's.

Being able to study the function -- and dysfunction -- of human glial cells in rodent brains could give researchers insight into many diseases, Sanberg and Goldman said.

For the study, Goldman's team implanted human glial stem cells into the brains of newborn mice. Stem cells are primitive cells that give rise to mature, specialized cells.

The researchers found that over time, the human glial stem cells matured and replaced the mouse glial cells -- in essence, "taking over their brains," Goldman said.

His team then used mouse-appropriate learning tests -- like the classic escape-from-the-maze challenge -- to compare the animals' functioning with that of mice with no human glial cells.

"We thought these mice should be smarter. They should be able to learn faster," Goldman said. "And that's what we found."

"It's a remarkable finding," said James McGaugh, a research professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine.

The results "elevate the role" of glial cells in human brain functioning, said McGaugh, who was not involved in the research. As for human health and disease, he added, "I don't see any immediate implications. But clearly these are exciting findings that warrant further investigation."

Goldman and his colleagues are already using this line of research to study human disease. In a study published last month, they reported that they have been able to take stem cells from the skin of patients with certain brain diseases and use them to generate glial stem cells. The cells can be implanted into mice to gain a better understanding of those disorders, and to test new therapies, Goldman said.

Right now, the researchers are experimenting with cells taken from patients with schizophrenia and Huntington's disease.

More information

Learn more about degenerative brain diseases from the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

SOURCES: Steven Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., chairman, neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; Paul Sanberg, Ph.D., D.Sc., professor, neuroscience, University of South Florida College of Medicine, Tampa; James McGaugh, Ph.D., research professor, neurobiology and behavior, University of California, Irvine; Mar. 7, 2013, Cell Stem Cell


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. After the human genome project: The human microbiome project
2. Dog Study Raises Prospect of Biological Pacemaker for Humans
3. Study reveals stem cells in a human parasite
4. Has evolution given humans unique brain structures?
5. Human heart development slower than other mammals
6. Secrets of human speech uncovered
7. Human Teeth Healthier in the Stone Age Than Today: Study
8. Emerging SARS-Like Virus Well-Suited to Attack Humans: Study
9. The same genetic defect causes Pompe disease in both humans and dogs
10. Are Humans Extraterrestrials From Other Star Systems in the Milky Way Galaxy? Lou Baldin Author of 13 Books on the Subject Thinks So
11. xR: The Human Genome Project has Delivered on its Promise to Treat Disease. Introducing GEMS, the Genetic Enzyme Methylation Syndrome
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Human Brain Cells Used to Make Mice Smarter
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... The Behavioral Health ... Distinction, recognizing the organization as a top behavioral service provider in the country. ... clinical quality, staff satisfaction and qualifications, and consumer satisfaction. These areas are measured ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... Experimentation ... research and development, largely due to its potential for revolutionizing human disease treatment. ... and human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). , Both platforms have distinct ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... December 06, 2016 , ... METTLER TOLEDO has ... knowledge resources, including white papers, guides, handbooks, case studies, magazines, webinars, videos, catalogs, ... more than 9,000 documents, webinars and videos available online, visit the METTLER ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... ... ... 'Tis the season for family, festivity, food and fun! Temptation abounds, and ... eating healthy, staying active, and taking medication and doing daily foot health checks (a ... "Shopping trips, parties and family gatherings can take their toll on our feet during ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... December 06, 2016 , ... ... the availability of the newly updated International Audit Protocol Consortium (IAPC) EHS audit ... EHS audit protocols to understand the scope of their EHS regulatory obligations and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Nov. 29, 2016 Several leading Alzheimer,s ... Accera, Inc. at 11 a.m. EST on ... Conference on Clinical Trials for Alzheimer,s Disease (CTAD). The ... in Alzheimer,s disease and therapeutic targets that address deficient ... "Following the recent failure of another therapy targeting the ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... BOCA RATON, Fla. , Dec. 5, ... Commercialization of Public Research (the Florida Institute) ... agreement SegAna, LLC, an Orlando ... Central Florida. The Florida Institute supports new company ... funding gaps for companies spinning out of Florida-based universities ...
(Date:12/5/2016)... According to a new market research report "Cartilage Repair/ Cartilage ... Scaffolds, Cell-free composites), Application (Hyaline Cartilage, Fibrocartilage), by Region - Forecast ... USD 779.8 Million by 2021 from USD 414.6 Million in 2016, ... 2016 to 2021. Continue Reading ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: