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Research clears up how brain ‘cleaners’ fail in ALS

In preclinical studies, Mayo Clinic scientists and collaborators have identified the molecular mechanism used by the brain’s “cleaners” as they remove a problematic protein in the brain. This work, published in Nature Neuroscience, demonstrates that the cleaners—resident immune cells in the brain called microglia—play a protective role in a mouse model of Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The study may provide a potential therapeutic target for that disease.