Brain drains away waste products
ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily NewsUsing advanced imaging technology, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York found this previously unrecognized “glymphatic system,” which they said functions in the brain under the direction of glial cells, similar to the body’s lymphatic system. The researchers suggest their findings could lead to improved treatments for neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and Parkinson’s disease.
“Waste clearance is of central importance to every organ, and there have been long-standing questions about how the brain gets rid of its waste,” senior study author Dr. Maiken Nedergaard, co-director of the university’s Center for Translational Neuromedicine, said in a school news release. “This work shows that the brain is cleansing itself in a more organized way than has been realized previously.”
Two garbage haulers
The newly discovered system moves cerebrospinal fluid, which cleanses brain tissue, throughout the brain more efficiently than previously thought, the researchers said. Under pressure, the system pushes large volumes of the fluid through the brain to remove waste forcefully.
“It’s as if the brain has two garbage haulers, a slow one that we’ve known about, and a fast one that we’ve just met,” Nedergaard said. “Given the high rate of metabolism in the brain, it’s not surprising that its mechanisms to rid itself of waste are more specialized and extensive than previously realized.”