In the January 20 Nature Neuroscience, researchers led by Tony Wyss-Coray at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California, identify a microglial subtype that accumulates cytoplasmic lipid droplets. These fatty microglia show up in the aging hippocampus, as well as around amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s brains and in a mouse model of frontotemporal dementia. Inflammatory stimuli and genetic variants linked to several neurodegenerative diseases seem to trigger lipid-associated microglia, aka LAMs. The cells spew out inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species while dialing down phagocytosis, potentially exacerbating disease.
Alzforum covered these data when in preprint form on bioRxiv (Aug 2019 news).—Madolyn Bowman Rogers
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