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Iron-Containing Inflammatory Cells Seen in Alzheimer's Brains

(Stanford University Medical Center) Examining post-mortem tissue from the brains of people with Alzheimer's disease, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators identified what appear to be iron-containing microglia -- specialized scavenger cells that sometimes become inflammatory -- in a particular part of the hippocampus, a key brain structure whose integrity is critical to memory formation.
In post-mortem brain tissue from people not diagnosed with Alzheimer's, neither the iron deposits nor the scavenger cells engulfing them were present in that brain region…
[The researchers] said they don't know how the iron gets into brain tissue, or why it accumulates where it does. Micro-injury to small cerebral blood vessels there was one possibility, they speculated.
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