Here's Why Drugs That Work So Well in Mouse Brains Often Fail Miserably in Humans

livescience.com | 8/22/2019 | Yasemin Saplakoglu
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Neuroscientists face a major obstacle in developing drugs to treat brain disorders — if the drugs work really well on mice, they often fall short when humans are treated. Now, a new study suggests a potential reason why: Brain cells in mice turn on genes that are very different from the ones in human brain cells.

Mice and humans have evolutionarily conserved brains, meaning they have very similar brain architectures made up of similar types of brain cells. In theory, that makes mice ideal test subjects for neuroscientists, who don't typically have the ability to peer into living human brains.

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Yet for mysterious reasons, treatments that worked beautifully in the mouse brain often don't pan out when tested in humans.

To figure out why that may be, a group of scientists from the Allen Institute for Brain Science in Seattle analyzed brains donated from deceased people and brain tissue donated by epilepsy patients after brain surgery. They specifically looked at a part of the brain called the medial temporal gyrus, which is involved in language processing and deductive reasoning.

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Researchers sorted through nearly 16,000 cells from this brain region and identified 75 different cell types. When they compared the human cells with a data set of mouse cells, they found that mice had counterparts that were similar to almost all of those human brain cells.

But when they looked at which genes were switched on...
(Excerpt) Read more at: livescience.com
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