Brain’s ‘insulation’ continues to form throughout life
Myelin acts as insulation for millions of brain cells, allowing for swift and efficient transmission of signals across brain regions. Despite its crucial role, little is known about how stable this structure is in the adult brain and what impact aging has on its maintenance. Yale neurologists Robert Hill, Alice Li, and Jaime Grutzendler devised techniques to track and precisely image myelin throughout the lifetime of the mouse. They discovered that myelin continues to form and restructure in the adult brain — indicating the potential for lifelong change. They also learned that during aging, myelin begins to deteriorate and myelin debris accumulate over time.
Barrier Function: TREM2 Helps Microglia to Compact Amyloid Plaques
New research bolsters the case that brain-derived microglia need TREM2 to essentially wall off amyloid plaques, but exactly how they do that remains up for debate. As reported in the May 18 Neuron, scientists led by Jaime Grutzendler at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, used confocal and super-resolution microscopy to show that TREM2-positive microglia surround and encase amyloid fibrils, protecting neurons in the process. Yet TREM2 itself appears to lend little support to phagocytosis of Aβ. The technical caliber of the work and the quality of the microscopy led researchers in the AD field to call the study “stunning.” It comes on the heels of another paper, in the April 18 Journal of Experimental Medicine, which suggests the microglia that surround plaques are brain-derived, not peripheral myeloid cells as others had suggested previously.Source: Barrier Function: TREM2 Helps Microglia to Compact Amyloid Plaques
Immune cells may act as ‘trash compactors, protecting against Alzheimer’s
In the battle against Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation may be an ally, not a foe, a new study has found. Immune cells in the brain previously blamed for Alzheimer’s actually protect against the disease by corralling the damage-causing amyloid plaques, according to the Yale University study, published Wednesday in the journal Neuron. The findings suggest that inflammation byproducts of these immune cells, known as microglia, probably don’t cause Alzheimer’s, nor are they as effective as previously believed at “gobbling up” the plaques, both of which have been hypothesized, said Jaime Grutzendler,associate professor of neurology and neuroscience and the study’s lead author. Rather, he said, the cells act as a physicalbarrier that encloses the spiky plaques, preventing outward expansion and making them less toxic. “They’re sort of like garbage compactors,” he said. “They tightly surround the plaques and make them inert and less damaging . . . by creating a capsule.”
Research in the news: Hyperactive neurons may be culprit in Alzheimer’s
A long-term reduction in neuronal activity reduces amyloid plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease, Yale University researchers have found. The study, using mouse models of Alzheimer’s, found the opposite is also true — triggering an increase in neuronal activity spurs creation of plaques and toxic amyloid beta peptides believed to trigger the disease.
Immune cells are an ally, not enemy, in battle against Alzheimer’s
In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), β-amyloid plaques are tightly enveloped by microglia but the significance of this phenomenon is unknown. Here the authors used confocal and in vivo two-photon imaging in AD mouse models and revealed that microglia constitute a physical barrier that prevents the formation of neurotoxic hotspots of protofibrillar β-amyloid and shields adjacent neurons and synapses from the toxic effect of amyloid plaques
Sawubona Virtual Healing Circles Provide a Healing Space
Two Yale Department of Psychiatry faculty lead a support program that provides a healing space to Black first responders, health and mental healthcare workers, and the Black community at large. Chyrell D. Bellamy, PhD, MSW, professor of psychiatry and director of PRCH, and Angela M. Haeny, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the REAL at Yale, lead the program.
Yuen PI on New Grant to Support AAPI Students, Faculty
Eunice Yuen, MD, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry and in the Child Study Center, is the principal investigator on a $24,922 grant awarded to Yale University for a new online intervention program titled, “Acting Together: Culturally-informed clinical education for Asian American Pacific Islander professional trainees.”
SJHE Now Part of Yale College’s Undergraduate Medical Education Curriculum
The Yale Department of Psychiatry’s Social Justice and Health Equity Curriculum (SJHE) is expanding beyond the psychiatry residency program and is now being used across Yale College’s undergraduate medical education curriculum.
What's Race Got to do With It? Factors Contributing to Self-Change From Cocaine Use Disorder Among Black Adults
Angela Haeny, PhD, assistant professor of psychiatry, is senior author of a paper in Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment that shows multiple race-related factors contribute to the development of, maintenance of, and self-change from cocaine use disorder among Black adults.Source: Journal of Substance Use and Addiction Treatment
Study: People Who Regularly Drink Alcohol Could Be More Prone to Internet, Gaming, and Exercise Addiction
An international research team with members that include Yale scientist Marc Potenza, MD, PhD, have identified several genes and their variants that trigger both substance use and other potentially addictive behaviors.
Epidemiologic and Genetic Associations of Endometriosis With Depression, Anxiety, and Eating Disorders
A Yale-led study published in JAMA Network Open is the first large-scale analysis to investigate phenotypic and genetic factors contributing to the psychiatric comorbidity of endometriosis, a complex gynecologic disease.
Zimbrean Edits 'Transplant Psychiatry: A Case-Based Approach to Clinical Challenges'
Paula Zimbrean, MD, associate professor of psychiatry and director of Transplant Psychiatry Services at Yale New Haven Hospital, is editor of the recently released book, “Transplant Psychiatry: A Case-Based Approach to Clinical Challenges.”