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Science:拥有罕见皮肤的动物或对人类有益

摘要 : 已故流行巨星迈克尔•杰克逊和水牛有什么共同点?一种名为白癜风的无法治愈的皮肤疾病。

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已故流行巨星迈克尔•杰克逊和水牛有什么共同点?一种名为白癜风的无法治愈的皮肤疾病。在罕见情况下,患者失去色素沉着,皮肤变得满是斑点。白癜风的成因是一个谜,尽管在某些病例中自身免疫性疾病可能起到了一定的作用。由于缺乏一个合适的动物模型,相关研究一直受阻。现在,科学家们似乎找到了一个好模型:水牛。四年前,新德里的白癜风研究者从社会工作者那里听到一个奇怪的故事:印度西部某村庄的村民一直在回避那些肚子长满斑点的水牛。去年,研究人员从那里拖回了五头被遗弃的水牛(如上图),并通过皮肤活检发现这些水牛皮肤上的白色斑块同人类白癜风患者有着一个“惊人的相似之处”。同人类一样,这些水牛的斑点带有难以察觉的少量黑素细胞,即承载色素的细胞,且色素沉着基因的表达水平较低,研究小组在《色素细胞和黑色素瘤研究》杂志的网络版上报告说。新德里的研究团队在利用新的动物模型上没有浪费任何时间。在一头水牛里,白斑在短短六个月内已经像“撒花一样”从它的尾巴蔓延到了它的臀部和脸部;研究人员正在测试一种新的化合物以观察它是否能阻止病情的进一步扩散。

原文链接:

Animals with rare skin condition may help people

原文摘要:

What did the late pop star Michael Jackson have in common with water buffaloes? An incurable skin disorder called vitiligo. In the uncommon condition, sufferers lose pigmentation and their skin turns blotchy. Vitiligo’s cause is a mystery, though autoimmune disorders may play a role in some cases. Stymieing research has been the lack of a good animal model. Now, scientists appear to have found one: the water buffalo. Four years ago, vitiligo researchers in New Delhi heard an odd tale from social workers. Villagers in a hamlet in western India were shunning buffaloes with blotchy bellies. They hauled back five of the pariah beasts last year (one pictured above), and found through skin biopsies that whitened patches of the buffaloes’ skin bore a “striking resemblance” to that of human vitiligo patients. Just like in people, the buffaloes’ blotches had vanishingly few melanocytes—pigment-bearing cells—and low levels of expression of pigmentation genes, the team reports online in the journal Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research. The New Delhi team hasn’t wasted any time making use of the new animal model. In one buffalo, patches have spread “confetti-like” from the animal’s tail to its rump and face in just 6 months; researchers are testing a new compound to see whether they can arrest further spread.

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