23 April 2013

Human neurons have made mice smarter

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, working under the guidance of Professor Su-Chun Zhang, have demonstrated for the first time the ability of partially differentiated human embryonic stem cells to successfully implant in the mouse brain and ensure the restoration of neurological defects.

As part of the study, embryonic stem cells were cultured in the laboratory in the presence of a complex of factors that stimulate their differentiation into nerve progenitor cells. The resulting cell population was injected into the hippocampus of the brain of linear mice, whose body does not reject foreign transplants. In animals, the region of the brain responsible for learning and memorization was previously damaged by chemical exposure.

Human cells implanted in the mouse brain differentiated into two types of neurons that transmit information using the neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid and acetylcholine. According to Chzan, neurons of these two types are involved in the formation of many behavioral characteristics of a person, as well as in the processes underlying emotions, learning, memory, addiction development and many other physiological phenomena.

After transplantation, mice showed significant improvements in the results of performing traditional learning and memorization tasks. For example, they performed much better on a test for orientation in a water maze, the purpose of which is to memorize the location of an underwater platform.

However, the authors warn that stem cell therapy will not soon find its application in clinical practice, since the localization of brain damage is unknown in many psychiatric diseases. They believe that the results of their work will be used in creating models for the development and screening of new drugs.

Article by Yan Liu et al. Medial ganglionic eminence–like cells derived from human embryonic stem cells correct learning and memory deficits is published in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

Evgeniya Ryabtseva
Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru based on the materials of the University of Wisconsin-Madison:
Stem cell transplant restores memory, learning in mice.


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