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Neuro-Protective Role Of Immune Cell Discovered

Update Date: Jul 22, 2014 02:06 PM EDT

A type of immune cell known to exacerbate chronic adult brain disease such as Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis (MS) can protect brain from traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a new research.

The cell also slows the progression of neurodegenerative diseases.

Researchers found that microglia can help synchronize brain firing, which protects the brain from TBI and may help alleviate chronic neurological diseases.

"Our findings suggest the innate immune system helps protect the brain after injury or during chronic disease, and this role should be further studied," said Bruce Trapp, PhD, Chair of the Department of Neurosciences at Cleveland Clinic's Lerner Research Institute, in the press release. "We could potentially harness the protective role of microglia to improve prognosis for patients with TBI and delay the progression of Alzheimer's disease, MS, and stroke. The methods we developed will help us further understand mechanisms of neuroprotection."

The team used an advanced technique called 3D electron microscopy to visualize the activation of microglia and subsequent events in animal models.

The research has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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