In a discovery that promises to enhance our understanding of diseases like dementia and stroke, scientists at the University of Queensland in Australia have tracked down a type of cell that cleans up the brain. The researchers found the cell in zebrafish– an excellent model for studying human biology partly because they are transparent, which enables scientific investigators to easily study what happens inside their brains using advanced light microscopes.
Said Ben Hogan, associate professor, the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at UQ: “It is rare to discover a brain cell type that we didn’t know about previously–particularly one that we didn’t expect to be there.”
The new discovery comes on the back of a landmark finding earlier that contrary to what was long believed, the brain does in fact have lymphatic vessels, which are an important part of the human immune system. The latest finding at UQ shows that in addition to those well-hidden vessels the brain may also contain isolated lymphatic cells that help to clean up waste that leaks from the bloodstream.