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Braintransplant

vineland expatriate pmb2 at ellis.uchicago.edu
Fri Oct 22 18:24:58 EST 1993


In article <2a9lep$puf at vixen.cso.uiuc.edu> hjb41542 at uxa.cso.uiuc.edu (Hyun June Bahk) writes:
>	Although with great diffilculty, transplanting of organs has been
>practiced for some time now.  It seems that tissues, bones, and organs can
>be grafted or tranplanted with assembly-line precision in near future(?)
>But what about the brain?  I've seen some movies about such topic but I don't
>know if it's possible or what.  An intersting question that arose from such
>movies is who is the recipient of brain transplant?  Is he/she the donor with
>recipient's body or the recipient with donor's brain?  Answer to this question
>can generate lot of new questions like...Is immortality possible through 
>complete body transplant?...Can mind and body problem finally be solved?

Well, the non-trivial difference between a marrow graft and a brain transplant
is that of getting things hooked back up correctly.  Heart and liver trans-
plants are much closer to the marrow graft end of the spectrum than brain 
transplants are.....

A trick which has been used successfully here is to let the brain do the 
wiring for you.  However, this only works if the graft is done in embryos.
The one system where I know it has been done is in bird embryos;  using a 
technique known as the chick quail chimera technique, in which the donor 
cells are distinguishable from the recipient cells on the basis of their 
staining, and extremely careful microdissection, Mike Balaban succeeded 
in transplanting the forebrain from quail embryos to chick embryos (published
in Science about 5 years ago, I think;  I don't know where he is now;  when
he did that work he was working with Nicole LeDourin in France).  He confirmed
that the transplant took, and that in early life the viable embryos behaved
as quail in terms of vocalization structure and motor patterns during vocaliz-
ation.  Problem was that after about two weeks of life, the chick immune 
systems became active and rejected the foreign tissue.  

I wonder if he or anyone out there is trying to prolong the lives of the 
chimaeras using immunosuppressive drugs and/or diet.

I am not sure how you properly phrase the donor/recipient side of the 
question, but you wind up with a chick body responding to quayle commands.
I know there is a dan quayle/marilyn quayle funny there waiting to happen...

-Peter
pmb2 at ellis.uchicago.edu



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