Neurological diseases continue to be studied, but for as much as we have learned about them, there is also much that we still don’t know.

Recently, however, researchers made a new finding that may not only change textbooks, but will change the way that we understand the link between the brain and the immune system.

Researchers from the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined that the brain is directly connected to the immune system by vessels previously thought not to exist.  These findings may lead to ground breaking new discoveries in neurological conditions, such as Alzheimers Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and many other neurological diseases.

Never known previously, the researchers have found a lymphatic system for the central nervous system (CNS).  As an example, it is know that Alzheimers Disease is caused by large chunks of proteins that build up in the brain.  This lymphatic system of the CNS may be inefficient in those patients who develop this disease and so more research needs to focus on this.

“Instead of asking, ‘How do we study the immune response of the brain?’ ‘Why do multiple sclerosis patients have the immune attacks?’ now we can approach this mechanistically. Because the brain is like every other tissue connected to the peripheral immune system through meningeal lymphatic vessels,” said Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, professor in the UVA Department of Neuroscience and director of UVA’s Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG). “It changes entirely the way we perceive the neuro-immune interaction. We always perceived it before as something esoteric that can’t be studied. But now we can ask mechanistic questions.”

These finings will be published in the prestigious journal, “Nature”.

 

For more information:  NeuroscienceNews