Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/virtualw/public_html/Archive/IndividualNews.php on line 12
VWN News: MRI reveals genetic activity
Untitled Document
Not a member yet? Register for full benefits!

Username
Password
 MRI reveals genetic activity

This story is from the category Display Technology
Printer Friendly Version
Email to a Friend (currently Down)

 

 

Date posted: 25/03/2014

Doctors commonly use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose tumors, damage from stroke, and many other medical conditions. Neuroscientists also rely on it as a research tool for identifying parts of the brain that carry out different cognitive functions.

Now, a team of biological engineers at MIT is trying to adapt MRI to a much smaller scale, allowing researchers to visualize gene activity inside the brains of living animals. Tracking these genes with MRI would enable scientists to learn more about how the genes control processes such as forming memories and learning new skills, says Alan Jasanoff, an MIT associate professor of biological engineering and leader of the research team.

“The dream of molecular imaging is to provide information about the biology of intact organisms, at the molecule level,” says Jasanoff, who is also an associate member of MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research. “The goal is to not have to chop up the brain, but instead to actually see things that are happening inside.”

To help reach that goal, Jasanoff and colleagues have developed a new way to image a “reporter gene” — an artificial gene that turns on or off to signal events in the body, much like an indicator light on a car’s dashboard. In the new study, the reporter gene encodes an enzyme that interacts with a magnetic contrast agent injected into the brain, making the agent visible with MRI. This approach, described in a recent issue of the journal Chemical Biology, allows researchers to determine when and where that reporter gene is turned on.

MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves that interact with protons in the body to produce detailed images of the body’s interior. In brain studies, neuroscientists commonly use functional MRI to measure blood flow, which reveals which parts of the brain are active during a particular task. When scanning other organs, doctors sometimes use magnetic “contrast agents” to boost the visibility of certain tissues.

The new MIT approach includes a contrast agent called a manganese porphyrin and the new reporter gene, which codes for a genetically engineered enzyme that alters the electric charge on the contrast agent. Jasanoff and colleagues designed the contrast agent so that it is soluble in water and readily eliminated from the body, making it difficult to detect by MRI. However, when the engineered enzyme, known as SEAP, slices phosphate molecules from the manganese porphyrin, the contrast agent becomes insoluble and starts to accumulate in brain tissues, allowing it to be seen.

See the full Story via external site: newsoffice.mit.edu



Most recent stories in this category (Display Technology):

08/02/2017: New method improves accuracy of imaging systems

04/02/2017: New technology to watch the sea waves in 3D

11/01/2017: Telepresence used for Criminal Court Proceedings

16/09/2014: ‘Squid skin’ metamaterials project yields vivid color display

10/09/2014: 2D or 3D? New study shows no difference in emotional reactions between film formats

28/08/2014: Razor-sharp TV pictures

07/06/2014: Shatterproof screens that save smartphones

27/05/2014: New 'T-ray' tech converts light to sound for weapons detection, medical imaging



Warning: Unknown: write failed: Disk quota exceeded (122) in Unknown on line 0

Warning: Unknown: Failed to write session data (files). Please verify that the current setting of session.save_path is correct (/tmp) in Unknown on line 0