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The Final Dakar Mar 7, 2013 01:32 PM
The same thing we do every night, Pinky...
—try to take over the world!
Scientists Enhance Intelligence of Mice with Human Brain Cells

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To conduct the experiment, the scientists created human chimeric mice — mice that were endowed with human glial cells.

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To push this line of inquiry further, the University of Rochester Medical Center's Steve Goldman, along with Maiken Nedergaard, set about the task of engineering mice with brains infused with human glial cells to see it would have any kind of influence on their cognitive capacities.

Now it's important to note that mice have glial cells, too. But they're quite different from ours.

"Human glia are larger and have more fibers than those of lower species, and as a result each controls many more neural synapses within its geographic domain, compared to similarly situated mouse astrocytes," Goldman told io9. "In addition, human cells may secrete higher levels of neuromodulators and cytokines that regulate synaptic activity."

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Specifically, long-term potentiation (the increase in strength of nerve impulses along previously used pathways) was sharply enhanced in the human glial chimeric mice, as was their learning. They did a better job navigating through mazes (as per the Barnes maze navigation protocol), their object-location memory was superior, and their fear conditioning was enhanced (both for contextual situations and alarming tones).

On the other hand, mice who were grafted with murine GPCs (glial cells extracted from other rodents), showed no enhancement in any of these areas.

"These findings indicate that human glia differentially enhance both activity-dependent plasticity and learning in mice," noted the authors in the ensuing study
Jesus christ. I'm surprised you can do this, seems very Frankensteiny (only with completely different animal parts).
 
angelmb Mar 7, 2013 02:34 PM
So, sooner than later, mice will be able to define the Fermi-Dirac function !!
 
andi*pandi Mar 7, 2013 02:36 PM
narf!
 
Uncle Skeleton Mar 7, 2013 02:36 PM
That's a cool result. I can't wait to read the paper.
 
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