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Weizmann Institute suggests that immune cells help to maintain cognition and brain cell renewal

requirement for neurogenesis. They observed that the specific T cells that are helping the formation of new neurons are the ones recognizing CNS proteins.

To substantiate their observations, the scientists injected T cells into immune-deficient mice with the objective of replenishing their immune systems. The results: cell renewal in the injected mice was partially restored ?a finding that supported their theory.

In another set of experiments, they found that mice possessing the relevant CNS-specific T cells performed better in some memory tasks than mice lacking CNS-specific T cells. Based on these findings, the scientists suggest that the presence of CNS-specific T cells in mice plays a role in maintaining learning and memory abilities in adulthood.

Schwartz points out that the role of the autoimmune T cells is not to affect the level of intelligence or motivation, but rather, to allow the organism to achieve the full potential of its brainpower. "These findings," she says, "give a new meaning to 'a healthy mind in a healthy body'. They show that we rely on our immune system to maintain brain functionality, and so they open up exciting new prospects for the treatment of cognitive loss." Knowledge that the immune system contributes to nerve cell renewal has potential far-reaching implications for elderly populations, because aging is known to be associated with a decrease in immune system function. It is also accompanied by a decrease in new brain cell formation, as well as in memory skills. Therefore, by manipulating and boosting the immune system, it might be possible to prevent or at least slow down age-related loss of memory and learning abilities.


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Source:American Committee for the Weizmann Institute of Science


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