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Waste Disposal Network Discovered in the Brain
Posted: Thursday, August 16, 2012 3:37 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: NewScientist) - There is a network of previously unrecognized vessels that rid the brain of unwanted extracellular fluids and other substances, including amyloid-beta - a peptide that accumulates in the brain of people with Alzheimer's. The new discovery looks set to add to our understanding of the disease.

Jeffrey Iliff at the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York, and colleagues, were intrigued by the fact that there are no obvious lymphatic vessels in the brain. Among other things, the lymphatic system removes waste interstitial fluids from body tissue.


"It seemed strange that such an important and active organ wouldn't have a specialized waste-removal system," says Iliff.


When the researchers added tracers to the cerebrospinal fluid of live mice, the tracers quickly spread throughout the rodents' brains. Using two-photon microscopy to visualize the movement in real-time, the team saw cerebrospinal fluid permeating the entire brain through 'pipes' surrounding blood vessels, similar to the lymphatic system that services all other organs.


"Removing waste is as vital to organ function as receiving nutrients," says Iliff. "So the failure of the glymphatic system is probably involved in many disease states - for example, Alzheimer's with its hallmark accumulation of amyloid-beta."


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