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Blind Mice See Again After Cell Transplants 107

Korbinus writes, "Scientists have managed to restore vision in blind mice by transplanting light-sensitive cells in their eyes, cells on their way to become photoreceptors. This might be a important step towards new treatments of eye disease."
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Blind Mice See Again After Cell Transplants

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @09:51PM (#16779001)
    I wonder if this procedure will work for Republicans? :-)
  • one down (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @09:51PM (#16779005)
    Thr^H^H^HTwo blind mice.
  • awesome! (Score:4, Funny)

    by chaos421 ( 531619 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @09:51PM (#16779009) Homepage Journal
    ...and here i thought the future of vision was a gold-plated bananaclip visor.
  • by Centurix ( 249778 ) <centurix.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @09:54PM (#16779037) Homepage
    "Holy crap, look at the size of that carving knife! Run!"
  • Blind mice (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @09:54PM (#16779051)
    Now if they could just help them regenerate the tails the farmers wife cut off the mice will be whole again.
  • I guess they don't have any excuse now.
  • by the_humeister ( 922869 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @10:00PM (#16779101)
    It could work for children who are discovered to be blind, or those who gradually lose their vision from macular degeneration. This won't help those who were blind from birth and are now adults since their visual cortex will not have developed.

    And, of course, this only works on mice. Why is it that mice always get the best treatments?
  • And, of course, this only works on mice. Why is it that mice always get the best treatments?

    Now that's just cheesy.
    Even I want to mod me down for that one.
  • Why is it that mice always get the best treatments?
    It should be no surprise that hyperdimensional beings are able to trick humans into developing therapies for them.
  • by zensufi ( 743379 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @10:19PM (#16779283)
    I for one welcome our new seeing mouse overlords.
  • Because it is the mice that paid for the building of this planet. They have enough money to pay for a copy to be built too, after the Earth I was destroyed by the Vogons.
  • Prove it... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Firehed ( 942385 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @10:26PM (#16779359) Homepage
    We know this worked *how*?

    "Now Petey, give us two squeeks if you can see again!"
  • by fuo ( 941897 )
    I'm guessing they tested the mouse's reactions before and after the treatment... Like the "made you flinch" game.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Sony was right, Cell can do anything!
  • I'm just guessing too because I also didn't RTFA, but wouldn't showing them a picture of a predator scare them away from it?
  • And, of course, this only works on mice. Why is it that mice always get the best treatments?

    They also get the worst.

  • by realmolo ( 574068 ) on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @10:41PM (#16779493)
    Surgeons have succeeded in transplanting a frog's brain into a cloned copy of The Handsome Prince's body.

    This comes after last weeks news that Little Miss Muffet didn't know what a "tuffet" was at the time of the incident with the spider, and that her subsequent testimony was completely fabricated by her lawyers.
  • by BWJones ( 18351 ) *
    A couple of points humeister,

    1) The ganglion cells are the projection cells of the retina. If you assume that the visual cortex is already mapped, and the ganglion cells survive, the mapping remains intact.

    2) Which brings up problem #2 What everybody needs to realize is that if you wait until the photoreceptors degenerate, it is too late in that downstream changes are taking place in the bipolar cells, amacrine cells, horiztonal cells, Muller cells and ganglion cells. The retina remodels and alters the
  • Do you really think it's the hard to effectively test the visual acuity of an animal? Doesn't seem that unreasonable to me. See if you can teach them that the blue lever makes food and the red one doesn't. Or...see if they avoid obstacles when navigating. Or... anyway, seems like testing if a mouse is blind or not is probably a solved problem.
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
    Why is it that mice always get the best treatments?

          Of course the price they pay is that they are sacrificed the minute the experiment is over...
  • by shodai ( 970706 )
    Perhaps they stopped running into things? *shrug*
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
    wonder if this procedure will work for Republicans?

          Nahh they'd just deny it if they could see it, or claim that they could see it all along anyway and everything was going according to plan.
  • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
    Sony was right, Cell can do anything!

          Especially if you have a rootkit.
  • by Mozk ( 844858 )
    You know a mouse can see because the cursor would move.
  • Super vision? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday November 08, 2006 @11:12PM (#16779771)
    I wonder would this work for replacing the cones in a person's eye? Currently there are three types of cones sensitive to L-, M- and S-wavelengths of light. Colour blindness is caused by either missing or reduced function of cones. A potential fix for colour blindness? Presuming the brain is elastic enough and colour opponent neurons will kick in for missing cones.

    Or add a fourth or fifth groups of cones sensitive to different wavelengths of light - UV, etc? If we can capture these extra wavelengths what will our brains do? Ignore or use?
  • by thopkins ( 70408 )
    Perhaps the mice responded to a visual cue that had no sound or small. It's not that complicated.
  • Simple. Put an electrode in the visual cortex of the animal, and see if it's got increased activity. Or, an fMRI would do the trick. compare the reading from before with the after, and see where the increased activity resides.
  • If the three blind men have this treatment, would they still recognized the elephant?
  • Well generally if a animal can see and you make a sudden move they flinch dont they?
    When blind mice start getting visual reflexes then you know they can see again.

    (No I dont know if thats how they do it but its a good assumption)
  • No, it doesn't provide x-ray vision. They'd require a cure for head-in-ass-edness first.
  • by biocute ( 936687 )
    Did you read the friendly article?

    They placed a mousetrap (this type [matcmadison.edu]) and a plate with cheese, next to each other, and the mouse lived to give us two squeeks.
  • by Chinju ( 662523 )
    Yeah, the only way I can tell someone is blind or seeing is by asking him. There are no other tests possible, none other even conceivable, by which I might tell if someone were blind or not. This is why babies are never diagnosed as blind until they have first acquired speaking skills, the distinction being necessarily unobservable previously.
  • by podwich ( 766178 )
    They tested the pupillary reflex. This tests the retina, the optic nerve (CN II in humans), the visual cortex, and efferent cranial nerves that control the pupil (oculomotor nerve (CN III) in humans). All of these need to be intact and functioning to have an intact pupillary reflex.
  • by Etherwalk ( 681268 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:03AM (#16780169)
    Three blind mice, three blind mice,
    See how they run, see how they run,
    They all ran after the lab tech's wife,
    were given new sight with one gene splice,
    saw her and ran for the rest of their life.
    The three spliced mice.

    (No offense to the lab tech's wives out there. =))
  • by ryeinn ( 844805 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:05AM (#16780193)
    I read TFA, maybe I missed it. The question I want answered is whether they can harvest these cells once and grow them to use them many times. You can do that with stem cells. Curious if it works that way here. It seems that way but I'm not sure.

    You also have to wonder about type matches. Maybe it's an incorrect analogy, but blood and organ transfusions need to be matched by type. Is the same true here? I wouldn't be surprised if it was.

    Just some food for thought in a more serious vein.
  • Disable alternative sensory inputs and place the animal in a strange environment with a reward goal that can be visually sensed. Observe multiple interations of blind, treated, and normal-visioned mice and decide if the result allow you to conclude the treated mice performed similarly better as the normal-visioned over the blind mice.
  • And, of course, this only works on mice. Why is it that mice always get the best treatments?

    Indeed! I say we offer up tens of millions of our fellow human beings until we too get the cool shit.

    Where do I sign?
  • by metlin ( 258108 )
    Easy - tests of response to stimuli.

    Flash a light, show things etc. and observe responses.
  • This is cool but... (Score:5, Informative)

    by green453 ( 889049 ) on Thursday November 09, 2006 @12:18AM (#16780297)
    How about not transplanting any cells and instead infecting existing cells with a virus that causes them express to CHOP-2? CHOP-2 (channelrhodopsin) is a light activated cation/proton channel excited by blue (~480nm if I remember right) light. Basically, if a neural cell expresses CHOP-2, shining a blue light on it will activate it. A http://www.neuron.org/content/article/abstract?uid =PIIS0896627306001760 [neuron.org] paper in Neuron last spring explained how this technique was used to overcome blindness in mice. I call dibs on mutating the channel to change its excitability spectrum into IR, allowing me to see in the (visible spectrum) dark after being infected with it. Or maybe I can sell it to the military...
  • My guess is that (in a nutshell) they examined the histology of the eye after transplantation, and made conclusions based what we know of what the normal eye should look like.

    Reuters being a popular press outlet, it's understandable that they wouldn't give a quite detailed explanation, but here is a link to the Nature article:

    http://ww w.nature.com/news/2006/061106/full/061106-10.html [nature.com]

    It's not much better than the Reuters bit, but at least it offers a link to the abstract at the bottom (and the full pdf
  • It would be ironic if a cure for Republicanism were developed from stem cell research.
  • by Dirtside ( 91468 )
    Um, by holding a visual stimulus in front of the mouse and noting whether it responded to it, pointed its head at it, etc.?
  • Primary article? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Does anyone have a link to a copy of the actual article? These articles don't provide nearly enough detail.
  • Maybe he hooked it up to a polygraph, and had a cat walk by on the other side of a glass wall?
  • by Tychon ( 771855 )
    I would suspect by basic reaction tests. Take a sufficiently small but still notable object and move it very quickly at the mouse. If the mouse is blind, the movement of air and sound should be minimal enough that he can't really distinguish it above other ambient sources, so he doesn't do much of anything. If he can see, he freaks out like any sane creature would when a needle-like object is moving rapidly for them.

    Of course, I may be thinking about this too complexly. Just shine a bright light in his face
  • by heli0 ( 659560 )
    "The team tested the mice's vision by observing how their pupils responded to different light intensities (Nature, vol 444, p 203)."

    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19225775.100 -cell-transplant-may-restore-lost-sight.html [newscientist.com]
  • by KKlaus ( 1012919 )
    Granted the article doesn't say, but come on. You really can't tell if people are blind unless they tell you?

    Same thing with mice... they could tell because they responded to visual stimulae. Again, granted the article didn't say that explicitly, but really that should be obvious.
  • If we can capture these extra wavelengths what will our brains do? Ignore or use?

    Use, most likely. There are several explanations for the evolutionary advantage of colorblindness. One explanation is that people who are totally colorblind are better at making out shapes since they don't rely on color. The army uses them for these purposes. However, another explanation is the fact that the mothers of colorblind sons are tetrachromats and capable of seeing in four channels of colors. So at the very least, huma
  • by podwich ( 766178 )
    As my previous attempt at a reply seems to have been lost in the ether...

    They tested the pupillary reflex. This tests the retina, the optic nerve (CN II in humans), the visual cortex, and efferent cranial nerves that control the pupil (oculomotor nerve (CN III) in humans). All of these need to be intact and functioning to have an intact pupillary reflex.
  • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
    Because we don't do initial tests on humans. We find a lot of the procedures that work on mice, but not humans. We don't find many procedures that work on humans, but not mice.
  • Certainly some sort of behavioral test. Blind mice and mice with vision behave differently since they respond to different stimuli. The blind mice obviously not being able to respond to visual stimuli. Behavioral neuroscientists develop tasks to test perception in animals that cannot give us direct feedback among other things. It's just another part of their line of work. That said, we really need to see the primary journal article to know what sort of test they used and if it was adequate.
  • The same way we knew they were blind in the first place.

    It's not that tough to judge whether an animal is blind or not. Just expose it to something you know mice would react to visually.
  • Perhaps the mice stopped running into walls?
  • It's likely a strain of mice that are born without vision. And even though your post is relatively frivolous, there are a lot of liberals involved in animal research. Virtually all of my professors included in that group.
  • The biggest problem with this would be that the procedure would, barring some rapid advances in our knowledge of brain development, have to be performed on a very young child. Adult brains are not well-equipped to deal with the addition of a new stimulus such as new visible wavelengths. Of course, the parents could theoretically consent to such a procedure, but it'd be a pretty shady operation, especially in the early stages of the research.
  • by Joebert ( 946227 )
    What if somthing goes wrong & the cells become cancerous ?
    Would someone have to walk around looking like this [warriorlibrarian.com] ?
  • Wouldn't it be cheaper to simply genetically engineer miniature guide-dogs for them?
  • my (only slightly edicated) guess is: perfectly possible! And visual cortex seems to be highly capable of adult plasticity, so I'd say the new wavelength range will be merged into the visual impression. Not that you'd be able to tell "this is UV" or this is "IR" but maybe brightness? Central color coding in the brain is quite complicated. Maybe the rod receptor cells would be better candidates for adding new wavelength ranges, as they only "code" light intensity anyway?
  • My guess is a simple test involving doors and colors. The food will always be behind color X, so they train the mice that way. Then they switch the doors around and if the mouse can see again, they can find the door with the food.

    Of course, IANAS, so I don't know what exact process they used, but really, it's not that hard to find out. You could substitute the colors for shapes on the doors or any other visual cue. I mean, they must have had some kind of test to see if they were even blind in the first pla
  • actually I think there are whole batteries of behavioral test that can figure out rodent visual acuity and other properties of vision. Just imagine a setup like this: mouse learns decision whether to take left or right arm of Y-maze depending on image shown above entrance. Train mouse a lot. Change image properties until mouse performance drops significantly. Find acuity threshold.... et cetera ad nauseam
  • ... mice rule the world, gawddamit!
  • by g253 ( 855070 )
    We know this worked *how*?

    Because they no longer bump into every wall they encounter? Because they run like hell when you show them a cat? I don't think you need to be great scientist to be able to tell wether a mouse is blind...

  • There are actually some women who have 4 color cones [post-gazette.com] instead of three.
  • I thought cleaning the sensor once in a while would be enough...
  • If it goes as swimmingly as the foot-in-ass transplant they received yesterday, they'll have 20/20 vision!
  • Technology Review had another article [technologyreview.com] on this yesterday.
  • Much better article (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
  • Why does the threading of comments work in yesterdays threads but not in this one or any other one of today? I mean, I posted something and it's there (I find it in the post history) but it doesn't get displayed???
  • It's not that hard to tell the difference between a creature that slowly moves around, bumping into walls of a maze and the creature that easily walks down the center of the maze.
  • Moderation -1
        70% Redundant
        30% Informative

    Not "Redundant" when posted in its entirety at 9:45PM.
  • My suspicion: Excessive mouseterbation!
  • Why can't I (or, it seems - anybody?) reply to threads? Worked yesterday...
  • shine a light at them and check wether they react to it in some way?

    Put some food behind a screen?

Forty two.