Discovery of a “missing link” will change approach to neurological diseases

Source: Science Daily

The vast web of connections that come together in the human body have never quite been completely mapped out; in fact, researchers at the University of Virginia recently uncovered a direct connection between the central nervous system and the immune system, a connection that was once thought not to exist. This discovery will cause profound changes in the way diseases such as autism, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis and other disease that relate both body systems are approached.

The connection between the brain and the peripheral immune system was imaged in the lab of Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, professor in the UVA Department of Neuroscience and director of UVA's Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG). After imaging the meninges (the membrane covering of the brain) of mice, researchers then tested for lymphatic vessels to bridge connection with the immune system.

The success of this research lies in its ability to image the connection. Not only will this change all biomedical textbooks on the topic, this discovery opens doors for greater research in understanding the effects of the immune system on the nervous system.