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.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.