Frankenstein would have had a chuckle.
Scientists at Rochester University have implanted Human glial cells into mouse brains.
I kid you not!
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Glial cells support our neurons, communicate with them and each other, and are a vital part of the brain’s functioning.
So vital, apparently the scientists thought perhaps the mice could do with some of them!
And you might be wondering why on earth…
I guess it’s to try and figure out the role of glial cells without having to mess with a real Human brain. And they’ve learnt a thing or two about their functioning. They don’t just insulate nerve cells, helping the electrical signals pass efficiently, they’ve also got receptors for neuro-transmitters, such as glutamate, gamma-aminobutyric acid and noradrenaline, all involved in the processes of learning, regulating our mood and keeping anxiety at bay.
They also seem to take care of the health of our brain cells and can slow down or stop degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and maybe even Multiple Sclerosis.
It seems that tinkering with a mouse brain has brought its benefits… if not to the mouse!