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Friday, May 27, 2016

Cleaning the Brain

The Brain Needs Cleaning to Stay Healthy

Source: PLOS.
Research led by the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience, the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU), and the Ikerbasque Foundation has revealed the mechanisms that keep the brain clean during neurodegenerative diseases. 
When neurons die, their debris need to be quickly removed in order for the surrounding brain tissue to continue to function properly. Elimination of the neuron corpses, in a process called phagocytosis, is carried out by highly specialized cells in the brain called microglia. These small cells have many ramifications that are in constant motion and are specially equipped to detect and destroy any foreign element, including dead neurons. Or so it was thought until now. 
Image shows a brain.
Experimental design and representative projections of 2-photon microscopy images of microglia at t0 (cyan) and 15 min later (magenta) from the DG of controls and KA-treated mice (1 dpi). image is credited to Abiega et al./PLOS Biology./.../
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