“Microglia are the brain’s immune cells…In their resting state, they’re like police officers in the doughnut shop, sitting down and relaxing, their guns holstered, but keeping their eyes open while placidly munching on whatever cellular debris or stray substances might come their way. If they encounter anything suspicious, though, they whirl into action. Activated microglia are like officers with their guns out and firing,”
In this study, Stanford University School of Medicine investigators examine post-mortem tissue from the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, identifing what appear to be iron-containing microglia in a particular part of the hippocampus, a key brain structure whose integrity is critical to memory formation. Alzheimer’s is increasingly understood to involve brain inflammation, and the bulk of microglia found in association with iron in the study were in an activated, inflammatory state.