Immune System and Alzheimer’s

A recent study from Stanford’s School of Medicine found that Alzheimer’s disease could be prevented and/or reversed by paying attention to a single cell in the brain called microglia. This study was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation and examined the effects of boosting brain immunity through experiments with mice.

Microglia is the name of nerve cells found in the brain and these cells function as garbage disposals that rid the brain of any virus or bacteria. One scientist involved in the study described the role of microglia as the brain’s “beat cop.” These cells work to clear the brain of any dead cells and control inflammation, functioning as the immune system for the brain.

As people age a protein in the brain called EP2 stops microglia from doing its job to protect the brain. In the study, when mice were genetically engineered to prevent the protein EP2 from developing or the protein was blocked, the Alzheimer’s symptoms in the mice disappeared.

This study provides hope for researchers regarding Alzheimer’s disease since the predictions for the spread of the disease indicate almost epidemic proportions by the year 2050. More research is needed before effective treatment can occur.



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