Tech UPTechnologyA video shows how the brain destroys dead neurons

A video shows how the brain destroys dead neurons

Our thinking organ uses a fairly complex system to recognize, engulf, and destroy dead cells to prevent them from clogging brain connections and damaging surrounding tissue. It is a crucial process in patients with brain injuries, neurodegenerative diseases, and other disorders.

Now, a team of scientists from the Yale University School of Medicine (USA) has managed to record a video of how dead neurons are destroyed inside the brain of mice, specifically we will see how a dead neuron (in red color ) targeted and surrounded by immune cells in the brain, called microglia. Over the course of 24 hours, the microglia fragment the dead neuron and consume its contents, preventing it from blocking the activity of surrounding neurons.

Was it easy to capture this moment? By no means, because cell death in the brain, known as apoptosis, is unpredictable and occurs very quickly.

"Cell death is very common in brain diseases, and understanding the process could provide information on how to address cell death in an injured brain, from head injuries to strokes and other conditions," the authors comment in the journal Science Advances.

Reference: Astrocytes and microglia play orchestrated roles and respect phagocytic territories during neuronal corpse removal in vivo. Science Advances 2020 DOI: DOI: 10.1126 / sciadv.aba3239

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