By Teresa Conrick
I continue to explore many types of research to see what might be helpful for so many of our children affected by the insidious symptoms of neuroimmune disease, that many call AUTISM. Much research is pointing to the gut-brain axis, the microbiome and those effects on development. This is not a new concept but one that needs much more attention.
I recently saw this medical article in the news:
Date: April 16, 2014
Source: University of California - Irvine
A class of drugs developed to treat immune-related conditions and cancer -- including one currently in clinical trials for glioblastoma and other tumors -- eliminates neural inflammation associated with dementia-linked diseases and brain injuries, according to researchers. In their study, the researchers discovered that the drugs, which can be delivered orally, eradicated microglia, the primary immune cells of the brain. These cells exacerbate many neural diseases, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as brain injury.
This summary from the abstract of the actual study - Colony-Stimulating Factor 1 Receptor Signaling Is Necessary for Microglia Viability, Unmasking a Microglia Progenitor Cell in the Adult Brain
The colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) is a key regulator of myeloid lineage cells. Genetic loss of the CSF1R blocks the normal population of resident microglia in the brain that originates from the yolk sac during early development. However, the role of CSF1R signaling in microglial homeostasis in the adult brain is largely unknown. To this end, we tested the effects of selective CSF1R inhibitors on microglia in adult mice. Surprisingly, extensive treatment results in elimination of ∼99% of all microglia brain-wide, showing that microglia in the adult brain are physiologically dependent upon CSF1R signaling. Mice depleted of microglia show no behavioral or cognitive abnormalities, revealing that microglia are not necessary for these tasks. Finally, we discovered that the microglia-depleted brain completely repopulates with new microglia within 1 week of inhibitor cessation. Microglial repopulation throughout the CNS occurs through proliferation of nestin-positive cells that then differentiate into microglia.
Since microglia are heavily involved in autism, I am curious if this research would apply to autism and have benefits to the thousands of individuals, mostly kids, affected?
"Because microglia are implicated in most brain disorders, we feel we've found a novel and broadly applicable therapeutic approach," Green said. "This study presents a new way to not just modulate inflammation in the brain but eliminate it completely, making this a breakthrough option for a range of neuroinflammatory diseases."
I have to point out that because the gut and the immune system are also implicated in autism, will eliminating microglia solve the biggest issue of autism?
Would love to hear opinions on this so please leave a comment.
Teresa Conrick is Contributing Editor to Age of Autism.