Findings suggest the dense-core plaques play a defensive role in protecting the brain from the ravages of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.

Iran Press/America: One of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) characteristic hallmarks is the buildup of amyloid-beta plaques in the brain. Most therapies designed to treat AD target these plaques, but they’ve largely failed in clinical trials.

New research by Salk scientists upends conventional views of the origin of one prevalent type of plaque, indicating why treatments have been unsuccessful.

The traditional view holds that the brain’s trash-clearing immune cells, called microglia, inhibit the growth of plaques by “eating” them.

The Salk scientists show instead that microglia promote the formation of dense-core plaques and that this action sweeps wispy plaque material away from neurons, where it causes cell death.

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