Brain's support cells, always on the go | Science News


Brain's support cells, always on the go

1:43am, May 18, 2005

When the brain is injured or infected, cells called microglia leap into action. A new study indicates that these cells, which researchers previously had thought were quiescent in life's less-stressful moments, are constantly sweeping their surroundings for signs of danger.

Most microglia research has been confined to lab dishes, in which the cells are constantly moving, changing shape, and otherwise active. But scientists presumed that the activity was a result of the abnormal and stressful context of being in the lab instead of in the brain.

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