A new mouse study found that the microglia cells in the retina can regenerate.
Let’s break down the basics.
What are microglia?
They are found throughout the brain, spinal cord, and retina and are in charge of mediating the immune response. When there is retinal injury, microglia respond by removing dying cells. The problem is they can also remove healthy cells during this process which can contribute to vision loss.
Tell me about the study.
The study used a drug to eliminate all the microglia in the retina of mice for a few days. After stopping the drug, the research team found that the microglia had regenerated and even returned to a normal density by five months.
Why is this relevant?
Because retinal inflammation from a large scale immune response can be a bad thing for vision. This study suggests if you can temporarily stop the immune response, you can get less damage from the inflammation but still have the microglia regenerate later.