- Researchers implanted human brain cells into baby mice to see how it would affect them and to determine the impact it would have on how different types of cells develop in their brains.
- The scientists observed that implanting certain glial cells known as astrocytes affected how quickly brain signals traveled long-term potentiation, which is related to memory and learning.
- They also found that, while mature cells have certain limitations, astrocyte progenitor cells from human fetuses take hold and divide and multiply aggressively.
The big takeaway from this study is that human glia have unique functional advantages. Moreover, these finding provide a model on which to base research into various cognitive diseases.
The implications of possible therapeutic development range far and wide, from treatments for multiple sclerosis (when immature glial cells were injected into baby mice, there was a proliferation of cells that produce myelin), to cognitive enhancers and treatments for brain-based diseases, such as Alzheimer's.