Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Specially-bred mice help target an annual outbreak: the flu

22.02.2012
As part of a national collaboration, Oregon Health & Science University researchers are studying specially bred mice that are more like humans than ever before when it comes to genetic variation. Through these mice, the researchers hope to better understand and treat an infectious disease that plagues us year in and year out: the flu.

The scientists aim to determine why some people suffer serious illness and even death when infected with influenza while others suffer only mild to moderate symptoms. The research is published in a special joint issue of the journals Genetics and G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, both publications of the Genetics Society of America.

The research was conducted within the Pacific Northwest Regional Center for Excellence (PNWRCE) for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases, a consortium of investigators with extensive expertise, and basic and translational research capacity directed at a broad range of pathogens. The cooperative effort has the goal of combating emerging or re-emerging infectious diseases that pose a serious threat to human health. The director of the PNWRCE is Jay Nelson, Ph.D., the founder and director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute at OHSU.

For decades, mice have played a key role in developing new treatments from the discovery of penicillin to the creation of polio vaccine. Because mice studied in labs are bred in a controlled manner, they are often genetically identical. Most of the time this is beneficial. The lack of genetic variation increases reproducibility and can help researchers more quickly determine a contributing factor to disease, but research on more complex diseases calls for mice to be more like humans who are genetically diverse. That's where this research project differs from many others.

The researchers are studying mice from the Collaborative Cross Program. Because these mice more closely reflect the genetic variation of humans, they may be the key to understanding some of today's most common, and most complex, diseases. In this case, the specially bred mice were used to study the varying immune response to the annual influenza outbreak.

In this research project, the scientists studied 44 groups of flu-infected mice that varied genetically. Due to this variation, the mouse reaction to influenza varied greatly, just as it does in the human population. The researchers then noted genetic differences that may have caused the variety of disease responses. Their ongoing work is to more clearly identify which genes cause these differences.

"Each year, annual influenza epidemics result in about 3 million to 5 million cases of severe illness," explained Shannon McWeeney, Ph.D., an associate professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics and head of the Division of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology at OHSU. "We see a broad spectrum of response to influenza infection ranging from patients with minor symptoms to the estimated 250,000 to 500,000 deaths worldwide."

"We want to understand what genetic factors influence this wide-ranging response. More importantly, with a better understanding of the genetic influence of disease response, we believe we can help in the development of better, safer vaccines that can target the most vulnerable population: the sick, elderly and young. We also want to determine if the genetic factors that impact flu response also play a role in the varying responses to other diseases. If so, this new research method could have a much broader impact," McWeeney said.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases funded this research (5U54AI081680).

About OHSU (www.ohsu.edu)

Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university, and only academic health center. As Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government), OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. OHSU serves patients from every corner of the state and is a conduit for learning for more than 4,300 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to each county in the state.

Jim Newman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ohsu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>