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Molluscs as Models for Translational Medicine

Fabio Tascedda, Davide Malagoli, Alice Accorsi, Giovanna Rigillo, Johanna M.C. Blom, Enzo Ottaviani

Department of Life Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy

Med Sci Monit Basic Res 2015; 21:96-99

DOI: 10.12659/MSMBR.894221

Available online: 2015-04-30

Published: 2015-04-30

ABSTRACT: This paper describes the advantages of adopting a molluscan model for studying the biological basis of some central nervous system pathologies affecting humans. In particular, we will focus on the freshwater snail Lymnaea stagnalis, which is already the subject of electrophysiological studies related to learning and memory, as well as ecotoxicological studies. The genome of L. stagnalis has been sequenced and annotated but the gene characterization has not yet been performed. We consider the characterization of the gene networks that play crucial roles in development and functioning of the central nervous system in L. stagnalis, an important scientific development that comparative biologists should pursue. This important effort would add a new experimental model to the limited number of invertebrates already used in studies of translational medicine, the discipline that seeks to improve human health by taking advantage of knowledge collected at the molecular and cellular levels in non-human organisms.

Keywords: Central Nervous System - physiopathology, Animals, Gene Regulatory Networks - genetics, Lymnaea - physiology, Models, Animal, Translational Medical Research - trends