microglia cells are the immune defence for central nervous system (brain + spinal cord). They are extremely sensitive and monitors suspicious activity – and similar to garbage collectors, microglia scavenge for dead, damaged and/or infectious cells … like “A-beta” which accumulates and clumps together to form “plaques” implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
A new study from Stanford University published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation (Dec 8, 2014) shows that microglia malfunction may be responsible for toxic inflammation and the accumulation of dead/toxic nerve cells in the brain of someone diagnosed with AD.
Evidence from this study is thought to demonstrate that by blocking a single molecule (… and prostaglandin signalling) on the microglial cell, they can restore the microglial cells’ scavenging function… and by restoring the microglial cell scavenging function, it will go back to doing its job as a ‘garbage collector’ and remove the damaged and infectious cells – like those plaques that are implicated in memory loss, cognitive dysfunction and AD. NOTE: this study is conducted in mice, so that leaves a lot of work ahead to determine whether it’s relevant to human brains.