Cause of Alzheimer’s disease might have been found at VUB

VUB researchers have identified unknown immune cells in brain tissue, which could be at the origin of the disease.

This neuro-degenerative disorder was described for the first time in 1906. Today, we still do not know exactly what causes Alzheimer’s, although it is characterised by lesions in the nervous tissue. Our brain contains not only neurons, but also immune cells (macrophages) that are essential for its operation.

Photo by Lucas Vasques on Unsplash


The team led by Professor Kiavash Movahedi from the VIB Center for Inflammation Research at VUB, has developed a comprehensive cell atlas of the brain’s immune compartment, based on 60,000 cells taken from the brains of mice. The scientists have discovered “hidden” macrophages similar to those normally associated with neuro-degenerative disorders. These cells could be essential for regulating immunity and inflammation of the brain.

The researchers believe that inflammation plays a key role in many neurological disorders. Understanding the ins and outs of brain macrophages could lead to the development of future treatments for neuro-degenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s.