Microglia in the news.

05 April 2018

During the last few weeks, microglia made the headlines a number of times in national and international press. It started with the publication of a research paper: Low-Fat Diet with Caloric Restriction Reduces White Matter Microglia Activation during Aging by Zhuoran Yin and colleagues (a former PhD student in the Neuroscience Department) in the scientific journal Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience. In this paper, the influence of fat content in the food of mice on the activation of microglia in the brain is reported. It is hypothesized that increased activation of microglia during life is associated with aging-associated cognitive decline or neurodegeneration. Thus a reduction in microglia activation might be a means to promote healthy aging. In this study, mice were fed a diet with either a High Fat content (40%) or a Low Fat content (10%). This by itself did not result in any difference or reduction in microglial activation during aging, but when the caloric intake of mice on a Low Fat diet was reduced by 40%, a significant reduction in microglial activation and inflammation of the brain was observed.

These findings in this paper were discussed on the Dutch national news radio station Radio 1 and covered in an article by the second largest weekly newsmagazine of the United States, Newsweek.

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