In the year of pig, there is a big news about “re-booting” a pig’s brain!
A new study shows, in a paper published in nature, that circulation and cellular activity were restored in a pig's brain four hours after its death.
What happened to the pig’s brain?
Cellular death within the brain is usually considered to be a swift and irreversible process. Cut off from oxygen and a blood supply, the brain's electrical activity and signs of awareness disappear within seconds, while energy stores are depleted within minutes. Current understanding maintains that a cascade of injury and death molecules are then activated leading to widespread, irreversible degeneration.
Four hours after the pig's death, Yale scientists connected the vasculature of the brain to circulate a uniquely formulated solution they developed to preserve brain tissue, utilizing a system they call BrainEx. They found neural cell integrity was preserved, and certain neuronal, glial, and vascular cell functionality was restored.
The researchers said that it is unclear whether this approach can be applied to a recently deceased human brain. The chemical solution used lacks many of the components natively found in human blood, such as the immune system and other blood cells, which makes the experimental system significantly different from normal living conditions. However, the researcher stressed any future study involving human tissue or possible revival of global electrical activity in postmortem animal tissue should be done under strict ethical oversight.
"Restoration of consciousness was never a goal of this research," said co-author Stephen Latham, director of Yale's Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. "The researchers were prepared to intervene with the use of anesthetics and temperature-reduction to stop organized global electrical activity if it were to emerge. Everyone agreed in advance that experiments involving revived global activity couldn't go forward without clear ethical standards and institutional oversight mechanisms."
There is an ethical imperative to use tools developed by the Brain Initiative to unravel mysteries of brain injuries and disease, said Christine Grady, chief of the Department of Bioethics at the NIH Clinical Center.
Original title：Scientists restore some functions in a pig's brain hours after death