Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Symptom Hunting

Clues to brain disorders caused by bacterial infection found in a type of brain cell

16 March 2019

Symptom Hunting

Brain disorders caused by bacterial infections are difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can be easily misattributed to other conditions. To help us better diagnose these infections in future, a team of scientists went on the hunt for signs of how these infections affect brain cells. A few days after a group of mice developed one such infection, the team found that several layers of the hippocampus, a small structure nestled deep inside the middle of brain, had changed. One layer of a certain type of brain cell (in blue, left half of this image) had reduced in density and their connections (green) showed signs of damage, while the density of these same cells in the layer above (right half) had increased. This small but important clue will help us piece together the puzzle of how bacterial infections affect the brain at a neuronal level and lead to brain disorders.

Written by Gaëlle Coullon

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