In a new approach, scientists at the University of California, San Francisco, have aimed to treat Alzheimer’s disease with new technology. The method involves focusing on microglia, a type of cell that helps stabilize the brain by removing damaged neurons and proteins commonly associated with dementia and other brain diseases. Although changes in these cells are associated with Alzheimer’s disease, they have not been studied. The researchers have now used a new CRISPR technology that allows them to control these microglia cells. According to the team, this could lead to a new approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease.
inside Brain, normal immune cells cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. This is where microglia cells come into play. They act as the brain’s immune system and help eliminate waste and toxins while keeping neuron works properly. When these microglia cell begin to go astray, leading to inflammation of the brain and possibly damage to nerve cells and their networks.
Microglia cells can even eliminate synapses between neurons under certain conditions. This process is a normal part of brain development during the childhood and teenage years. However, in adults, this can lead to harmful effects on the brain.
The research team led by Dr. Martin Kampmann has discovered the genes responsible for specific states of microscopic activity. With this, they were able to turn genes on and off and put skewed cells back in their place.
They generated microglia cells through stem cells donated by human volunteers and confirmed that they function like normal human counterparts. The team then set out to develop a new platform that incorporates a form of CRISPR and allows researchers to turn individual genes on and off.
With this, the team was able to find the genes responsible for the cell’s ability to survive and multiply. These genes also influence how aggressively a cell produces inflammatory substances and how aggressive the cell cleaves synapses. The discovery of the gene helped the researchers successfully rest and convert disease-carrying cells into healthy cells.