JUN 28, 2021 3:37 PM PDT

New Findings in Mouse Brains Could Improve Neurological Research

WRITTEN BY: Annie Lennon

Researchers led by the University of California have found important neurological differences between human and mouse brains that could have implications for future neurological research. 

While mouse models are used in research for treatments for neurological disorders, over 90% of drug candidates that pass mouse models fail in humans. One reason this happens is due to our lack of knowledge on the differences between astrocytes and other brain cells in both species. 

Astrocytes are critical for brain development and function. The most numerous cell type in the central nervous system, they perform many tasks including supporting other neurons and controlling the blood-brain barrier and blood flow. While injury or infection can cause astrocytes to aid in the repair of the brain, they can also increase rates of inflammation, leading to neurological damage. 

For the study, the researchers examined developing cells from mouse and human brain tissue, alongside cells grown in serum-free cultures from astrocytes selected using an antibody-based method. 

The researchers chose to grow cells in a serum-free culture as often, serums, containing a mixture of proteins, hormones, fats and minerals, can put astrocytes in a reactive state similar to that caused by infection or injury. Being able to grow the cells without serum thus allowed the researchers to study them in a healthy state and better control for oxidative stress, oxygen levels and inflammation. 

From experiments with the cells, the researchers found that mouse astrocytes are more resilient to oxidative stress than human versions. Unlike in human astrocytes, a lack of oxygen triggers molecular repair mechanisms in those of mice. 

The researchers say that their findings mean that lab models using mice for neurodegeneration could be engineered to reduce astrocytes’ natural resistance to oxidative stress, thus making them more reflective of human tissues. They also said that the mouse astrocytes' ability to repair following restricted oxygen may inform new avenues for stroke research. 

 

Sources: LabRoots, NCBIEurekAlertNature Communications

About the Author
  • Annie Lennon is a writer whose work also appears in Medical News Today, Psych Central, Psychology Today, and other outlets. When she's not writing, she is COO of Xeurix, an HR startup that assesses jobfit from gamified workplace simulations.
You May Also Like
SEP 27, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Optical Imaging in Tissue with Near-Infrared Dyes
SEP 27, 2021
Optical Imaging in Tissue with Near-Infrared Dyes
Optical Imaging in Tissue with Near-Infrared Dyes Written By Christopher Pratt, PhD   Go Long to See Deeper Imaging ...
OCT 11, 2021
Cancer
Different Cancer Types Metastasize to Specific Regions of the Brain
OCT 11, 2021
Different Cancer Types Metastasize to Specific Regions of the Brain
Metastatic cancer occurs when cancer spreads from its original site of origin to a distant location in the body. Wh ...
OCT 19, 2021
Health & Medicine
Can a Blood Test Guide Prognosis for Traumatic Brain Injury?
OCT 19, 2021
Can a Blood Test Guide Prognosis for Traumatic Brain Injury?
Jim had been skateboarding since he was seven years old and spent hours a day practicing. He had been in local competiti ...
NOV 17, 2021
Neuroscience
Drinking Tea and Coffee Linked to Reduced Dementia and Stroke Risk
NOV 17, 2021
Drinking Tea and Coffee Linked to Reduced Dementia and Stroke Risk
Drinking 4-6 cups of coffee or tea is linked to a lower risk of stroke and dementia. The corresponding study was publish ...
NOV 22, 2021
Cell & Molecular Biology
Understanding an Unusual Receptor That's Linked to Depression
NOV 22, 2021
Understanding an Unusual Receptor That's Linked to Depression
Clinical depression is estimated to impact over 264 million people worldwide in any given year, but it's difficult to tr ...
NOV 25, 2021
Health & Medicine
If it looks like a cat and meows like a cat, it must be...a robot!
NOV 25, 2021
If it looks like a cat and meows like a cat, it must be...a robot!
Researchers show improved mood, behavior, and cognition in dementia patients who interact with robotic cats
Loading Comments...