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2011 Grants - Ransohoff
Genetic Tagging of Mononuclear Phagocytes in Alzheimer's Mouse Models
Richard M. Ransohoff, M.D.
2011 Multi-Centered Project Grant-Component Project
Note: This is one part of a multi-part description. For an introduction to some of the concepts mentioned here, please read the document Lamb and Colleagues Overview.
Two types of mononuclear phagocytes (MNPs; see Overview) are believed to contribute to the brain inflammation that occurs during the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. The relative contributions of these two cell types, microglia and monocytes, are not well understood.
Richard M. Ransohoff, M.D. and colleagues have proposed a series of experiments to examine the role of monocytes in brain inflammation occurring in mice that have been genetically altered to express Alzheimer-like neurodegeneration. Unlike microglia, monocytes are found in the blood. They migrate into the brain in response to hormone-like signals occurring during stress or disease. Dr. Ransohoff and colleagues plan to label monocytes in the blood of their mouse models during different ages, then measure how these cells accumulate in the brain during the development of brain changes associated with Alzheimer's.
In related studies, Dr. Ransohoff's team will use their ability to label monocytes to distinguish them from microglia. They will then collect and separate the two cell types and measure which cells are responsible for secreting hormone-like substances that increase brain inflammation. Together, these studies will provide valuable insights into the different roles of microglia and monocytes in triggering brain inflammation during the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. These experiments may also help to identify strategies for combatting inflammation and perhaps slowing or halting the disease process.