What do glia do in the brain, and do they have anything to do with brain goop found in Alzheimer’s?

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What do glia do in the brain, and do they have anything to do with brain goop found in Alzheimer’s?

In: Biology
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Glia function within the “Glymphatic Pathway” to facilitate CSF flow and remove the waste byproducts that neurons produce. Discovered in 2016, there are strides being made in understanding the component parts of this system but the actual method of function is currently not understood.

A malfunction of this pathway could, in theory, trigger the buildup of amyloid plaques, iron, and copper ions in the brain. Attacks by white blood cells on these “foreign invaders” and subsequent catalysis of the foreign body could also affect the brain tissue in direct contact with these plaques, resulting in the gradual destruction of brain tissue that is observed. This part is just my personal theory, though, with several cognitive leaps.

“Glia” is a term which comprises different non-nerve cells in the nervous system.

The most prominent are astrocytes, which serve a variety of functions, including maintaining blood-brain barrier, disposal of waste products, providing neurons with nutrients, etc…

Another one is the microglial cell, which play a part in phagocytosis (uptake/engulfing of foreign matter or micro-organisms in the immune response).

Other import ones are Schwann cells, which produce myelin for the peripheral nervous system, which increases transmission speed of the nervous impulse. For the central nervous system, the glial cell is the oligodendrocyte.

Ependymal cells are the glia which line the brain’s and spinal cord’s ventricles (fluid filled cavities).

Apparently this is a new avenue of research, but recently researchers are investigating a potential glial, rather than neural, origin in Alzheimer.