Research led by Queen Mary University of London and the University of Seville around one protein's role in regulating brain inflammation could improve our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases.
The findings of a study involving mice are published today (Tuesday 15 October) in the scientific journal Cell Reports.
The lead authors, Dr Miguel Burguillos from the University of Seville and Dr Miguel Branco from Queen Mary, found that when the brain is under inflammatory conditions a protein called TET2 regulates the immune response generated in the brain's immune cells (or microglia).
Although neuroinflammation has an important beneficial role in fighting infection and responding to brain injury, excess or chronic inflammation can kill surrounding neurons. The death of such neurons can lead to neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
The authors found that removing TET2 in mice hampered the neuroinflammatory response.
Dr Burguillos said: "We already knew that TET2 removes particular 'chemical flags' from DNA that help determine whether a gene is active or not. However, we found that TET2 is actually needed to fully activate key immune cells of the brain. It appears to act differently in inflamed brain cells compared to those in other parts of the body."
Dr Branco said: "Although this is an exploratory study, the findings open up a new path for those researching neurodegenerative diseases where neuroinflammation driven by microglia contributes to their pathology. In the longer term it could shape the search for new treatments for those conditions."
For more information, please contact:
Chris Mahony Communications Executive (School of Medicine and Dentistry)
Queen Mary University of London
Tel: +44 0207 8826985
Notes to editors
Paper title: TET2 Regulates the Neuroinflammatory Response in Microglia; Authors: Carrillo-Jimenez A, Branco.M et al., Cell Reports 2019 29, 1-17
When the embargo lifts the paper will be available at https:/
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In 1785, Sir William Blizard established England's first medical school, The London Hospital Medical College, to improve the health of east London's inhabitants. Together with St Bartholomew's Medical College, founded by John Abernethy in 1843 to help those living in the City of London, these two historic institutions are the bedrock of Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry.
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