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Immune system/brain plasticity/autism

Kate_UK

Senior Member
Messages
258
http://www.discovermagazine.com/2013/oct/12-brain-benders

Super-mice bred to lack certain immune molecules display a superior ability to form new neural connections, or strengthen existing ones — and they could serve as a model for reversing brain disease...........

.........the mice have incomplete immune systems. They’ve been bred to lack proteins — members of a family called MHCI (which stands for major histocompatibility complex class I) — crucial to fighting pathogens. The same mutation that gives them their supremely adaptive brains has left them with extraordinarily vulnerable bodies.

In the body, MHCI proteins are watchdogs, tagging infected cells for immune attack. In the brain, these proteins assume an entirely different role, helping to regulate neuroplasticity — the ability of neural circuits to reshape themselves at every stage of life.


Today, a growing number of researchers are examining the complex ways in which immune molecules affect the brain and nervous system. Manipulating such molecules, these scientists believe, may be key to treating many devastating neurological ailments, from autism and schizophrenia to Alzheimer’s and ALS.
 
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Kate_UK

Senior Member
Messages
258
another quote..

Pondering these findings, Shatz developed a tentative theory about what MHCI was doing beyond the blood-brain barrier. Under normal circumstances, it clearly wasn’t mediating immune function. Instead, it seemed to be associated with remodeling the brain.

and another

Shatz expected these controversial notions to meet with some resistance once she made them public. Still, she was stunned when the prestigious journal Nature rejected the paper in which she reported her team’s findings. “They said we must have done something wrong,” she recalls, “and we should go back and figure out what it was.”