Targeting faulty immune cells benefits mice with features of Alzheimer’s

18 September 2018

Nature: Clearance of senescent glial cells prevents tau- dependent pathology and cognitive decline

Researchers have found that faulty immune cells in the brains of mice releasing proteins that can drive damage in diseases like Alzheimer’s. The team found that by clearing these faulty immune cells using genetic techniques, they could prevent damage in the brain. The findings have been published today (Wednesday 19 September) in the scientific journal, Nature.

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:

“Researchers are continuing to build a clearer picture of the precise interplay between the immune system and the brain, and this new work adds another piece to this puzzle.

“In this small but well-designed mouse study, researchers were able to clearly faulty immune cells from a region of the brain important for memory and thinking, and that doing so could limit damage associated with neurodegenerative diseases.

“As this study cleared toxicity using genetic techniques in mice, further efforts are needed to explore how this approach could be translated into a treatment that could be tested in people. There are many hurdles to overcome in developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, targeting these cell types could be a promising approach but is still some way off benefitting people living with dementia.”