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Monday, February 1, 2016

MS Trigger Believed to Lie in Microglial Cells, Scientists Report

Researchers use gene analysis to identify specific cells as initiators of several brain disorders 


<span class="entry-title">MS Trigger Believed to Lie in Microglial Cells, Scientists Report</span><span class="entry-subtitle">Researchers use gene analysis to identify specific cells as initiators of several brain disorders</span>


Researchers have isolated the particular cell types likely to initiate common brain disorders and diseases, such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and Alzheimer’s disease, a finding that may point the way to new and targeted treatments.
The brain has a complex cellular architecture characterized by a diverse set of cell types that are highly interconnected. Identifying those involved with the pathogenesis of disease is particularly challenging in heterogeneous tissues where cell types are often poorly defined. In the majority of brain disorders, evidence exists for changes that affect multiple cell types.
In the study, titled “Identification of Vulnerable Cell Types in Major Brain Disorders Using Single Cell Transcriptomes and Expression Weighted Cell Type Enrichment” and recently published in the journal Frontiers in Neuroscience, scientists at the University of Edinburgh used an advanced gene analysis method, known as the Expression Weighted Cell-type Enrichment, to examine genes that switched on in certain types of brain cells. The information was then compared with genes known to be associated with conditions such as MS, Alzheimer’s, autism, schizophrenia and epilepsy, as well as anxiety disorders and intellectual disability.
Results showed that, for some of these diseases, support cells — rather than the neurons that transmit messages in the brain — are likely the first to be affected.


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