Iron-containing inflammatory cells seen in Alzheimer's brains -- ScienceDaily

Examining post-mortem tissue from the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators identified what appear to be iron-containing microglia -- specialized scavenger cells that sometimes become inflammatory -- in a particular part of the hippocampus, a key brain structure whose integrity is critical to memory formation.
The bulk of microglia found in association with iron in the study were in an activated, inflammatory state. Alzheimer's is increasingly understood to involve brain inflammation, and groups led by Stanford researchers such as neurologists Katrin Andreasson, MD, and Tony Wyss-Coray, PhD, and neurobiologist Ben Barres, MD, PhD, have previously fingered microglia as potential suspects in the early inflammatory pathology of the disease. This study adds the new finding that inflamed, iron-associated microglia are present in the hippocampus in Alzheimer's and are observable by 7T MRI, which could advance the scientific community's understanding of the disease.

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