Inflamation and Alzheimer disease

A new study shows that microglia, which are the immune cells of the central nervous system, can "remember" inflammation. This "memory" influences how the cells react to new stimuli and deal with toxic plaque in the brain, a marker of Alzheimer's disease.

The brain's immune cells remember previous inflammation. Microglia, sometimes referred to as "scavenger" cells, "are the primary immune cells of the central nervous system."
As the key player in the brain's immunity, microglia are dispatched to the site of infection or injury, where they fight toxic agents or pathogens and get rid of useless cells.
However, these cells are also known to play a negative role in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, ischemic stroke, and traumatic brain injuries.
For instance, a recent study showed that when microglia are overactive, they devour toxic plaques along with synapses, which presumably leads to the neurodegeneration seen in Alzheimer's.
Additionally, microglia survive for a very long time, with some of the cells lasting for over 2 decades.
Also, "[s]tudies have shown that infectious diseases and inflammation suffered during a lifetime can affect the severity of Alzheimer's disease much later in life," explains lead investigator Jonas Neher, an experimental neuroimmunology researcher at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases in Tübingen.
Together, these observations led Neher to wonder "whether an immunological memory in these long-lived microglia could be communicating this [Alzheimer's] risk."
To answer this question, the team examined the immune response of these brain cells in mice. The findings were published in the journal Nature.

with thanks to: MNT


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