"Landmark Discovery" Finds Links Between Brain and Immune System
Researchers at the University of Virginia may have found a previously undiscovered connection between the brain and the body's immune system, a discovery that been described as "landmark."
The discovery was made when a student created a new way to count membranes covering a mouse brain in a single microscopic slide. This new approach involved securing the membranes, known as meninges, to the skullcap before dissection. The student then noticed a vessel-like pattern in the immune cells on the slide and a test for lymphatic vessels confirmed their presence.
This potential breakthrough could greatly change how diseases such as multiple schlerosis, are treated and understood. For instance, the well-known build-up of protein that is a classic sign of Alzheimer’s could be because these lymphatic vessels are not removing the protein properly.
The research team hopes to be able to investigate how aging might affect the role the vessels play, too, after noticing visible differences in the vessels that appear to relate to age.