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Microglial Cells Shown to Play an Active Part in Alzheimer’s Development

05:12 EDT 30 Jun 2017 | Genetic Engineering News

A scientific team from the Institute for Regenerative Medicine of the University of Zurich, along with collaborators in the U.K. and the U.S., say they have demonstrated that dysfunctional microglia cells contribute to the loss of synapses in Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases. These scavenger cells usually monitor the function of neurons in the brain by removing excess synapses during development or toxic protein aggregates. Until now, their role in neurodegenerative disorders has remained controversial, according to the researchers. The researchers report their finding (“TDP-43 Depletion in Microglia Promotes Amyloid Clearance but Also Induces Synapse Loss”) in Neuron. In an initial step, the investigators examined the effect that certain risk genes for Alzheimer's have on the production of the β-amyloid peptide. They found no effect in neurons. This led the researchers then to examine the function of these risk genes in microglia cells, where they made a ...

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