Trash Talk: Putting a Stop to the Garbage Collection

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two clusters of fluorescently labeled brain cells

Nader Morshed, Li-Huei Tsai, Forest White

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two clusters of fluorescently labeled brain cells

Nader Morshed, Li-Huei Tsai, Forest White
Picower Institute and Koch Institute at MIT

Microglia (magenta) are the resident immune cells of the brain. They collect and dispose of garbage in the central nervous system. With aging, neurons produce toxic proteins that accumulate in large amyloid plaque deposits (yellow).

The White and Tsai Labs are examining how the receptor Siglec-F (cyan) acts to modulate the immune response of microglia to amyloid plaques. Using techniques cultivated in the context of glioblastoma, researchers hope to develop new therapies against Alzheimer’s disease. Their findings could also inform future cancer therapies, as Siglec-F receptors may impact the cells’ ability to fight a growing tumor.

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Nader Morshed shares the story behind his award-winning image.