Human Brain Cells Successfully Implanted into Rats

Science

For the past ten years, researchers have built more intricate brain organoids, these are 3-Dimentional groups of cells that are designed to resemble the human brain.

New research takes clumps of human nerve cells and inserts them into a rat's brain. Compared to experiments where the neurons are cultivated in lab dishes, here they develop larger and more complexly.

“New research takes clumps of human nerve cells and inserts them into a rat's brain“

According to Arnold Kriegstein, a third-party neuroscientist at the University of California, the human cells respond to the rat cells and affect their actions. These links “demonstrate more substantial integration of the transplanted neurons”.

The foreign organoids grew along with the rat, increasing by 9x its original size and taking up one third of one brain cortex after 12 weeks. At this point they discovered that the rat cells are pushed aside and “it grows as a unit”.

Because rats' brains provide the ideal environment for cell growth, the human cells thrived. The neurons were ultimately 6x larger than corresponding cells in lab dishes.

Tests revealed that there was a closer comparison between transplanted neurons and human brain-derived cells than transplanted neurons and cells in dishes.

Unfortunately, rats which underwent the transplant failed to demonstrate evidence of greater intellect or memory. Scientists were more worried about the chance of them developing impairments.

“Will there be memory deficits? Will there be motor deficits? Will there be seizures?”

However, a number of tests were run to check and Pasca concluded that they “could not find differences”.

In future, the 3D brain replicas have potential to be implemented as a tool for treatment therapies.

“Challenging disorders will require bold approaches,” he says. “We will need to build human models that recapitulate more aspects of the human brain to study these uniquely human conditions.”

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