Researchers Show Spleen Tyrosine Kinase (SYK) Protein May Hold Key to Boosting Brain’s Ability to Fight Alzheimer’s, MS, Other Neurodegenerative Diseases; Article Published in Cell

Spleen Tyrosine Kinase (SYK)

University of Virginia (UVA) Health researchers have identified a molecule in the brain responsible for orchestrating the immune system's responses to Alzheimer's disease and multiple sclerosis (MS), potentially allowing doctors to supercharge the body's ability to fight those and other devastating neurological diseases. The molecule the researchers identified, called a kinase, is crucial to both removing plaque buildup associated with Alzheimer's and preventing the debris buildup that causes MS, the researchers found. It does this, the researchers showed, by directing the activity of brain cleaners called microglia. These immune cells were once largely ignored by scientists but have, in recent years, proved vital players in brain health. UVA's important new findings could one day let doctors augment the activity of microglia to treat or protect patients from Alzheimer's, MS and other neurodegenerative diseases, the researchers report.

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