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Fluorescent mouse blood will help us gain knowledge about brain diseases

Fluorescent mouse blood will help us gain knowledge about brain diseases

Scientists have found that studying fluorescent mouse blood could help us learn more about brain diseases.

The blood of mice genetically engineered to produce fluorescent proteins can be used to study the progression of brain diseases in live animals, according to new research from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The findings, published Dec. 28, 2016, in Nature Medicine, could lead to the development of new ways to detect and treat a variety of neurological disorders.

In the study, the research team used a modified form of the green fluorescent protein (GFP) that is found in jellyfish. The team injected the GFP-producing virus into the bloodstreams of live mice and then monitored the animals over time using a special microscope.

The fluorescent proteins produced by the virus allowed the scientists to track the movement of blood cells and other proteins through the brains of the mice.

“We found that we could use this technique to detect early changes in the brains of mice that model human diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” said first author Han-Jung Won, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Neurology.

“This approach could also be used to study other types of diseases, including stroke, multiple sclerosis and traumatic brain injury.”

The researchers are currently working on ways to increase the sensitivity of the technique so that it can be used to detect even subtle changes in the brain.

“We hope that this approach will one day help us to diagnose and treat neurological disorders more effectively,” said senior author David E. Berendt, MD, PhD, the Michael and Mary Snyder Family Distinguished Professor of Neurology.

Fluorescent mouse blood will help us gain knowledge about brain diseases

Scientists have developed a new way to study brain diseases in live animals by injecting fluorescent ‘smart’ cells into their bloodstream.

The fluorescent cells, which are derived from mice, can cross the blood-brain barrier and light up in the presence of specific proteins that are linked to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.

senior author of the study, said: “We can now study the very earliest stages of these diseases in live animals and see how they progress over time.

“This opens up new avenues for developing treatments and for testing the effectiveness of potential drugs.”

The study, published in the journal Nature Methods, also showed that the fluorescent cells can be used to study the brain’s response to injury.

Injecting the cells into the bloodstream of mice that had been given a brain injury showed that they collected in the damaged area and produced a chemical signal that attracted immune cells.

The researchers say the technique could be used to study a wide range of brain diseases and injuries, and to test the effectiveness of potential treatments.

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