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Rejuvenation of Microglia in Brain Aging and Neurodegeneration

Funding year(s): 
2015 to 2016
Funding to date: 

Aging impacts nearly every tissue and function in an organism, and the associated deterioration is the primary risk factor for major human diseases, including cancer, cardiac disease and such neurodegenerative diseases as Alzheimer’s disease. The underlying cause of aging is likely a multifaceted yet interconnected tangle of processes, but there is growing evidence that in the brain, microglia—which are the only resident immune cell—have a major role. We discovered that these cells show profound changes with aging and that soluble factors in the blood of young mice can rejuvenate these cells. We propose here to study how these cells age and what the mechanism of rejuvenation is. Our studies will help characterize the role of microglia in brain aging and Alzheimer’s disease models, and may uncover new ways to rejuvenate these cells and slow down brain aging and degeneration.