Tens of billions of cells die in the human body every day, which is a natural part of his life. This biomass must be promptly disposed of, making room for new cells. How this process occurs with the neurons of the brain was first seen by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine (USA).
Scientists used a new system, "2Phatal", with which they stained individual neurons with fluorescent dye, and then killed them. Everything happened on live mice, but on a limited scale so as not to disrupt the nervous activity of the animals. The main task is to study exactly how the dead neuron is utilized.
It turned out that all the work is done by three types of glial cells. The first to activate is the microglia, which engulfs the main body of the neuron, which takes several hours. In parallel, astrocytes destroy the remnants of dendrites - the former connections of the cell with other neurons. Finally, NG2 cells fill the void. The work of all three components is closely interrelated and when one of them slows down or is unable to continue working, the whole process is slowed down and may even "pause."
Researchers drew attention to a decrease in the rate of utilization depending on the age of the organism. The older the neuron carrier, the slower the process goes. Perhaps this is the reason for age-related neurodegenerative diseases - the body does not have time to get rid of dead neurons, which leads to their accumulation. And this pushes us to the idea of developing a mechanism for the forced cleaning of the brain from dead neurons in order to help the elderly body get rid of them faster.