Scientists Implant Human Brain Cells into Mice – You Won’t Believe What Happened Next

‘Of Mice and Men’ has a new interpretation now thanks to a group of scientists in California and if this interpretation is successful, debilitating mental disorders may be a thing of the past in years to come.

Jonas Salk Institute

A group of researchers at Salk Institute in La Jolla, San Diego, California have succeeded in implanting human brain stem cells into the brains of mice and the results have been startling, reports the UK’s Express.

Trifecta Results

Months after being implanted in the mice, the human stem cells survived and the researchers state that is due to the cells’ ability to accomplish three critical biological tasks.

The first accomplishment was the installation of a human cell into a ‘complex tissue organization’ in another organism. The Express states that of the cells implanted, 80 percent survived a body’s usual immune system attack and even started to grow neurons after a few weeks.

Secondly, most human cells not only survived but began integrating itself into the tissue of the organism and developing the cellular functions of that tissue.

Most promising for future development was the third accomplishment. The integrated human cells also tapped into the cardiovascular system of the organism, allowing for the promise of future advancements.

A Promising Future

Abed Al-Fattah Mansour, one of the researchers at Salk, is quoted as saying:

“These three elements are important for both basic research and drug discovery of brain disorders; for example, our approach has the potential for pre-clinical drug testing of patient-specific derived brain organoids under the organism setup.

“In addition, long-term survival could help the organoid to develop beyond the present embryonic stages that we see in culture.

“We hope this technology will set the stage and help to understand the pathogenesis of neurodevelopmental, neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders by enabling the generation of brain organoids from patients’ own stem cells, transplanted into rodents.”

Diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Lewy Body Dementia and Frontotemporal Dementia may benefit greatly, if not be reversed, by the research. These afflictions develop by forcing brain cells to atrophy.

An Interesting Carry-Over

Prior studies have found that the implantation of human neural cells into mice had a surprising effect.

Cnet reports that in 2014, scientists noticed that introducing neuronal support cells called astrocytes, a type of glial cell, actually made mice smarter.

According to Cnet, the research found that the hybrid mice “were much smarter than their buddies. In one test, mice were trained to recognise a sound that was a precursor to a mild electric shock. The hybridised mice froze in place for four times as long as the control group — suggesting that their memory was four times as long.”

Taken together, the scientific advance offers a plethora of tools to help medical officials tackle cognitive degeneration.

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