Long awaited, there's a fresh new dataset in Stall Catchers: "NOX: Vol 2" !
Sounds familiar? Yep, we've already worked on a dataset called "NOX" before (hence "Vol 2", haha) ! You can read all about the previous dataset here. This new dataset is a follow up to the previous NOX dataset you helped analyze. (How exciting!)
The specific molecule we're studying here is called "NOX2", or NAPDH oxidase 2 in full.
NAPDH oxidases are proteins involved in oxidative processes in our cells, such as production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) (that almost always means "free radical production").
ROS are known to cell damage and increase tissue inflammation. ROS production increases with age, and even more so in Alzheimer's disease. It's suspected that in Alzheimer's disease, inflammatory processes attract white blood cells to capillaries in the brain, which clog them, causing stalls.
What's the research question of "NOX: Vol 2"?
In this study, as well as the one before, researchers at the Schaffer-Nishimura Lab treated Alzheimer's mice with a NOX2 inhibitor, which blocks the NOX2 molecule. The idea is that if the inflammation-triggering molecule is blocked, inflammation is reduced, and so is the number of stalls in the brain.
But this hypothesis needs to be verified, and you are helping us do that in Stall Catchers! By counting stalls in Alzheimer's mice that have been treated with a NOX2 inhibitor, and those that have not, we can see whether NOX2 is indeed involved in stall formation.
Additionally (and in addition to the dataset you helped analyze before), in the "NOX: Vol 2 study", the researchers are also measuring the level of inflammation in the brain of treated and untreated Alzheimer's mice. That's done by using different molecular dyes together with the NOX2 inhibitor, which helps measure the level of inflammation in the tissues.
What is the bigger picture?
Overall, this research helps us understand the molecular underpinnings of stalls and Alzheimer's disease. And by gaining that understanding, we can start to pin-point potentially effective drug targets. See the video below for a great explanation:
The new dataset is part of a bigger project at the Schaffer-Nishimura Lab that would point towards the mechanism that might be involved in capillary stalling. In the near future, there will be a few more datasets involving NOX2, including experiment carried out in different Alzheimer's mouse models (where Alzheimer's disease have been induced differently), to verify any findings we might make.