Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mouse model provides window into working brain

Date:
August 28, 2014
Source:
University of Utah Health Sciences
Summary:
A protein marker that mice carry and reacts to different calcium levels allows many different cell types to be studied in a new way. This mouse model is a genetically engineered line of mice that is expected to open the door to new research on epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

University of Utah scientists have developed a genetically engineered line of mice that is expected to open the door to new research on epilepsy, Alzheimer's and other diseases.

Related Articles


The mice carry a protein marker, which changes in degree of fluorescence in response to different calcium levels. This will allow many cell types, including cells called astrocytes and microglia, to be studied in a new way.

"This is opening up the possibility to decipher how the brain works," said Petr Tvrdik, Ph.D., a research fellow in human genetics and a senior author on the study.

The research was published Aug. 14, 2014, in Neuron, a world-leading neuroscience journal. The work is the result of a three-year study involving multiple labs connected with The Brain Institute at the University of Utah. The lead author is J. Michael Gee, who is pursuing both a medical degree and a graduate degree in bioengineering at the university.

"We're really in the era of team science," said John White, Ph.D., professor of bioengineering, executive director of the Brain Institute and the study's corresponding author.

With the new mouse line, scientists can use a laser-based fluorescence microscope to study the calcium indicator in the glial cells of the living mouse, either when the mouse is anesthetized or awake. Calcium is studied because it is an important signaling molecule in the body and it can reveal how well the brain is functioning.

Using this method, the scientists are essentially creating a window into the working brain to study the interactions between neurons, astrocytes and microglia.

"We believe this will give us new insights for treatments of epilepsy and for new views of how the immune system of the brain works," White said.

About one-third of the 3 million Americans estimated to have epilepsy lack adequate treatment to manage the disease.

Describing a long-standing collaboration with fellow university researcher and professor of pharmacology and toxicology Karen Wilcox, Ph.D., White said, "We believe the glial cells are malfunctioning in epilepsy. What we're trying to do is find out in what ways astrocytes participate in the disease."

This research is expected to lead to new classes of drugs.

The ability to track calcium changes in microglial cells will also open up the possibility of studying inflammatory diseases of the brain. Every neurological disease, including Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer's, appears to include components of inflammation, the scientists said.

"Live imaging and monitoring microglial activity in response to inflammation was not possible before," said Tvrdik. In the past, researchers studied post-mortem tissue or relied on invasive approaches using synthetic dyes.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Utah Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J.Michael Gee, NathanA. Smith, FernandoR. Fernandez, MichaelN. Economo, Daniela Brunert, Markus Rothermel, S.Craig Morris, Amy Talbot, Sierra Palumbos, JenniferM. Ichida, JasonD. Shepherd, PeterJ. West, Matt Wachowiak, MarioR. Capecchi, KarenS. Wilcox, JohnA. White, Petr Tvrdik. Imaging Activity in Neurons and Glia with a Polr2a-Based and Cre-Dependent GCaMP5G-IRES-tdTomato Reporter Mouse. Neuron, 2014; DOI: 10.1016/j.neuron.2014.07.024

Cite This Page:

University of Utah Health Sciences. "Mouse model provides window into working brain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140828184743.htm>.
University of Utah Health Sciences. (2014, August 28). Mouse model provides window into working brain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140828184743.htm
University of Utah Health Sciences. "Mouse model provides window into working brain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140828184743.htm (accessed April 21, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Deepwater And Dolphins: The Oil Spill's Impact 5 Years On

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2015) Five years on, the possible environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon spill includes a sustained die-off of bottlenose dolphins, among others. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

Five Years Later, the BP Oil Spill Is Still Taking Its Toll

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) On April 20, 2010, an explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico started the biggest oil spill in US history. BP recently reported the Gulf is recovering well, but scientists paint a different picture. Duration: 02:36 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thai Customs Seize African Elephant Tusks Worth $6 Mn

Thai Customs Seize African Elephant Tusks Worth $6 Mn

AFP (Apr. 20, 2015) Thai customs seize four tonnes of African elephant ivory worth $6 million at a Bangkok port in a container labelled as beans. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Un-Bee-Lievable: Bees on the Loose After Washington Truck Crash

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 17, 2015) A truck carrying honey bees overturns near Lynnwood, Washington, spreading boxes of live bees across the highway. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins