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Microglia are key defenders against prion diseases

20:00 EDT 16 May 2018 | AAAS

(NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases) Prion diseases are slow degenerative brain diseases that occur in people and various other mammals. No vaccines or treatments are available, and these diseases are almost always fatal. Scientists have found little evidence of a protective immune response to prion infections. Further, microglia--brain cells usually involved in the first level of host defense against infections of the brain--have been thought to worsen these diseases by secreting toxic molecules that can damage nerve cells.

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