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Sci Rep. 2016 Jul 1;6:29015. doi: 10.1038/srep29015.

In vivo assessment of behavioral recovery and circulatory exchange in the peritoneal parabiosis model.

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Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, 94305 CA, USA.
Department of Radiology, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, 94305 CA, USA.
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, 94305 CA, USA.
Center for Tissue Regeneration, Repair and Restoration, VA Palo Alto Healthcare System, Palo Alto, 94304 CA, USA.


The sharing of circulation between two animals using a surgical procedure known as parabiosis has created a wealth of information towards our understanding of physiology, most recently in the neuroscience arena. The systemic milieu is a complex reservoir of tissues, immune cells, and circulating molecules that is surprisingly not well understood in terms of its communication across organ systems. While the model has been used to probe complex physiological questions for many years, critical parameters of recovery and exchange kinetics remain incompletely characterized, limiting the ability to design experiments and interpret results for complex questions. Here we provide evidence that mice joined by parabiosis gradually recover much physiology relevant to the study of brain function. Specifically, we describe the timecourse for a variety of recovery parameters, including those for general health and metabolism, motor coordination, activity, and sleep behavior. Finally, we describe the kinetics of chimerism for several lymphocyte populations as well as the uptake of small molecules into the brains of mice following parabiosis. Our characterization provides an important resource to those attempting to understand the complex interplay between the immune system and the brain as well as other organ systems.

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