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Current Common Marmoset Research

Current Research - Page 6

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III. Biomedical Research (cont.)

B) Stroke Model

  • Strokes result from the blockage of blood flowing to a part of the brain and can result in side effects such as difficulty in walking or in seeing.
  • Researchers have found a way to model a stroke in marmosets by disrupting blood flow to a major artery supplying blood to the brain.

Strokes are the Number Three cause of death in the United States. According to the American Stroke Association every 53s. someone in the USA has a stroke. Strokes are caused by an obstruction of arterial blood, or newly oxygenated blood, flowing into the brain. This obstruction decreases the volume of the oxygen rich blood flowing to surrounding areas of the brain and effected brain cells die. The loss of brain cells can cause numerous side effects such as:

  • difficulty in walking and reaching
  • difficulty seeing
  • trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • dizziness
  • the loss of the ability to balance

Generally, strokes are abrupt and occur without warning. Unfortunately, for those who have suffered from a stroke, rehabilitation has little effect and there are few drug treatments that can alleviate the problems.

Although there is no way to prevent strokes, or effectively treat the symptoms, at this time, researchers have discovered a way to study consequences of a stroke. By artificially creating a stroke in the common marmoset, researchers found that the marmosets displayed the same side-effects as humans would, had they suffered from a stroke. To reliably reproduce this valuable model researchers first trained the monkeys to perform several behavioral tasks, in order to determine how they normally performed. Next, the blood flow of a major brain artery was disrupted similar to the result occurring in a real stroke. Experimental drugs were administered to experimentally manipulated marmosets to determine if they had any effect in combating the severe side-effects of the stroke. Several weeks later the monkeys were re-tested on the same behavioral tasks and these performance levels were compared to their previous normal performance levels. Comparing the behavior tests of the marmosets before the stroke and after the stroke with or without additional drug treatments helped researchers determine which drugs had beneficial effect protecting against brain cell death. The closer a marmoset behavior after stroke and drug treatment was to the marmosets normal behavior more effective the drug was in reducing the stroke's side-effects. By testing likely drugs on marmosets displaying stroke side-effects, researchers can potentially find a drug that will either reduce or cure stroke side effects all together.

Further Reading:

Marshall, J. W., & Ridley, R. M. (1998). The Use of the Marmoset to Study Neuroprotective Drugs for the Treatment of Ischamic Stroke. European Marmoset Research Group. Marmosets in Biomedicine and as Models for Human Disease (Abstracts). 6.

Marshall, J. W., Cross, A. J., Jackson, D. M., Green, A. R., Baker, H. F., & Ridley, R. M. (2000). Clomethiazole Protects Against Hemineglect in a Primate Model of Stroke. Brain Research Bulletin, 52 (1), 21-29.

Additional Related Links:

American Stroke Association: http://www.strokeassociation.org

Mayo Medical Center - Stroke education: http://www.mayo.edu/cerebro/education/stroke.html

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: http://www.ninds.nih.gov

National Stroke Association: http://www.stroke.org

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Text by Rebecca Dallwig.