ALS (also known as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”) involves degeneration of certain motor neurons which leads to progressive loss of control over muscle function. Researchers at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Columbia University Medical Center, Rockefeller University, and Hudson Alpha Institute for Biotechnology, in a collaborative study have discovered another piece of the puzzle of dying motor neurons.
The research utilized a mouse model of ALS to study microglia, a specific type of immune cell found in the central nervous system. It was found that these microglia have “both neurotoxic and neuroprotective effects.” These findings open the door to important new ways to study the immune system’s role in ALS and how it can be harnessed to potentially prevent and treat the disease.
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