Certain brain cells are now being examined for their role in MS and other neurodegenerative diseases.
In what may be one of the most significant discoveries in neurodegenerative disease, researchers have found that brain cells, called astrocytes, contribute to killing neurons and myelin-forming oligodendrocyte cells, which may drive neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS).
Experiments indicate an aggressive astrocyte type kills cells by secreting a yet-unidentified factor. Researchers are working to identify the secreted molecule, as well as to determine how to stop good astrocytes from becoming bad. Doing so may help them interfere with the neurodegeneration that occurs in MS and other conditions.
The study that explains the discovery, “Neurotoxic reactive astrocytes are induced by activated microglia,” was published in the journal Nature.
“We’ve learned astrocytes aren’t always the good guys,” Ben Barres, MD, PhD, the study’s senior investigator, said in a press release. “An aberrant version of them turns up in suspicious abundance in all the wrong places in brain-tissue samples from patients with brain injuries and major neurological disorders from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s to multiple sclerosis.”
Read full article: Multiple Sclerosis May Be Driven By Toxic, Aggresive Brain Cells: Study
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