Neuroscientists at UCLA have developed a new technique for studying a particular type of cell in the brain known as an astrocyte. Astrocytes perform a variety of practical functions throughout the brain. It is widely regarded that they have a major influence on how the brain works and are connected to the behavior of humans and other animals. This glial cell may also play a role in diseases such as Lou Gehrig’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have bred mice that have within them an artificial gene called Cre/ERT2 – a basic tool to aid in studying cells’ functions – that can be triggered in the astrocytes. Baljit Khakh, professor of physiology and neurobiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, notes that this new technique may potentially provide new strategies for treatment of these diseases.
Source: Advance by UCLA scientists could shed light on cell that may contribute to ALS and Alzheimer’s UCLA Newsroom, 08 Dec 2016
Additional coverage on this study:
Neuroscience achievement at UCLA provides new resources for research on neurological disorders Life Science Daily, 13 Dec 2016