Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New tool for studying animal models of neurological and psychiatric diseases

05.11.2002


Will allow non-invasive study of neurochemistry, behavior, and disease progression



Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory have demonstrated that a miniature positron emission tomography (PET) scanner, known as microPET, and the chemical markers used in traditional PET scanning are sensitive enough to pick up subtle differences in neurochemistry between known genetic variants of mice.

This "proof-of-principle" experiment, described in the November issue of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine, "opens up a whole new, non-invasive way to study and follow transgenic or genetically engineered strains of mice that serve as animal models for human neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease or psychiatric diseases such as substance abuse, depression, and anxiety disorders," said Panayotis (Peter) Thanos, lead author of the paper. Studying animal models may help scientists better understand and develop treatments for the human diseases.


Thanos and his team used microPET to measure the level of "D2" receptors for dopamine -- a brain chemical associated with feelings of reward and pleasure, which has been found to play a role in drug addiction -- in the brains of normal mice and so-called knockout mice, which had been genetically engineered to lack the gene for D2. The dopamine D2 receptor has been implicated in a wide variety of neuropsychiatric disorders, including, in recent studies by Brookhaven researchers, alcoholism and substance abuse. Thus, these D2-deficient mice are important for studying human diseases.

Before the scans, each mouse was given an injection of a radiotracer molecule designed to bind to D2 receptors. The microPET scanner then picked up the signal from the tracer to show where and how much was bound in various parts of the brain. The level of the tracer indicates the number of receptors.

In the striatum, a region of the brain normally rich in D2 receptors, "deficient" mice had significantly lower levels of tracer binding compared with their normal counterparts. There was no difference in tracer binding between strains in the cerebellum, an area of the brain that normally lacks D2 receptors, which was studied for comparison.

The scientists ruled out anatomical differences as a possible explanation for their results by comparing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans of the two strains, which showed no differences. They also confirmed the difference in D2 receptor levels between "deficient" and normal mice with traditional autoradiography, where tissue samples are labeled with a radiotracer to reveal receptor levels.

"The results clearly show that microPET is an excellent technique that can pick up the neurochemical difference between the two strains in a non-invasive way," Thanos said. "And because this technique can be used in living animals, we can now study how these neurochemical differences between genetic strains of mice affect behavior and/or disease progression over time in the same animals," he said.

The technique can easily be extended to study other human neurological or psychiatric diseases for which knockout animal models exist, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, or even depression and anxiety disorders.

This work was funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the U.S. Department of Energy, which supports basic research in a variety of scientific fields.


The U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory (http://www.bnl.gov) conducts research in the physical, biomedical, and environmental sciences, as well as in energy technologies. Brookhaven also builds and operates major facilities available to university, industrial, and government scientists. The Laboratory is managed by Brookhaven Science Associates, a limited liability company founded by Stony Brook University and Battelle, a nonprofit applied science and technology organization.

Note to local editors: Panayotis Thanos lives in Port Jefferson, New York.


Karen McNulty Walsh | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bnl.gov/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Routing gene therapy directly into the brain
07.12.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

nachricht New Hope for Cancer Therapies: Targeted Monitoring may help Improve Tumor Treatment
01.12.2017 | Berliner Institut für Gesundheitsforschung / Berlin Institute of Health (BIH)

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>