As a journalist I’m supposed to be impartial, I know. But today I’ll confess, I don’t love every cell the same. I have a very favorite kind, the microglia.
Microglia are immune cells that live in the brain. They’re multi-taskers and largely mysterious, which you can tell by the gamut of metaphors scientists use to describe them. Microglia are like soldiers and policemen,chameleons and spiders, housekeepers, gardeners, electricians, and
garbage collectors. Microglia can be active or resting, branched or blobby, harmful or protective. Are you in love yet?
I’ve had the pleasure of writing a few stories about microglia; the latest, about their possible role in autism, came out yesterday. But I’m not the only one falling for them. This week two elite journals published reviews about microglia. In Neuron there’s Microglia: New Roles for the Synaptic Stripper; and in Science, Microglia: Scapegoat, Saboteur, or Something Else?
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