Authors: Lauren Pulling
A new study conducted by researchers at the Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience, the University of the Basque Country and the Ikerbasque Foundation (all Basque Country, Spain), has indicated that neuronal phagocytosis mechanisms may be faulty in neurodegenerative diseases. The researchers suggest that microglia are inefficient phagocytes in the epileptic brain, leading to an inflammatory response and indicating that faulty microglial activity could be a target for new epilepsy treatments.
Microglia are responsible for phagocytosis of dead neurons; a process that must be carried out efficiently in order to maintain normal cell function in the brain. In this study, published in PLoS Biology, scientists studied microglial phagocytosis in brain samples from epilepsy patients and epilepsy mouse models, as neurons have been demonstrated previously to die during the seizures associated with epilepsy.