Neurons help flush waste out of brain during sleep

There lies a paradox in sleep. Its apparent tranquility juxtaposes with the brain’s bustling activity. The night is still, but the brain is far from dormant. During sleep, brain cells produce bursts of electrical pulses that cumulate into rhythmic waves — a sign of heightened brain cell function. But why is the brain active when we […]

How does waste leave the brain?

Scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found passageways that connect the brain to vessels that carry fluid waste out of and away from the brain. The newly discovered anatomical structures, found in mice and people, are like tiny gates, allowing waste to leave the brain and enter lymphatic vessels, where […]

Rejuvenated immune cells can improve clearance of toxic waste from brain

Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and many other neurodegenerative diseases are marked by damaging clusters of proteins in the brain. Scientists have expended enormous effort searching for ways to treat such conditions by clearing these toxic clusters but have had limited success. Now, researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found an innovative way […]

Adeoye, Guilak, Gutmann, Kipnis elected to National Academy of Medicine

Four faculty members at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have been elected to the National Academy of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences. They are Opeolu M. Adeoye, MD; Farshid Guilak, PhD; David H. Gutmann, MD, PhD; and Jonathan Kipnis, PhD. Membership in the academy is considered one of the […]

Kipnis named an editor of medical journal

Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, the Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Distinguished Professor of Pathology & Immunology and a BJC Investigator at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been named an academic editor of the Journal of Experimental Medicine, a high-impact journal that publishes papers on immunology, cancer biology, vascular biology, microbial pathogenesis, neuroscience and […]

Studies reveal skull as unexpected source of brain immunity

The immune system is the brain’s best frenemy. It protects the brain from infection and helps injured tissues heal, but it also causes autoimmune diseases and creates inflammation that drives neurodegeneration. Two new studies in mice suggest that the double-edged nature of the relationship between the immune system and the brain may come down to […]

Draining brain’s debris enhances Alzheimer’s therapies in mice

Experimental Alzheimer’s drugs have shown little success in slowing declines in memory and thinking, leaving scientists searching for explanations. But new research in mice has shown that some investigational Alzheimer’s therapies are more effective when paired with a treatment geared toward improving drainage of fluid — and debris — from the brain, according to a […]

How does the immune system keep tabs on the brain?

Immune cells (yellow and purple) fill a sinus (teal) in the outer layer of the meninges, the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that immune cells stationed in such sinuses monitor the brain and initiate an immune response if they detect a problem.

Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, autism, schizophrenia and many other neurological and psychiatric conditions have been linked to inflammation in the brain. There’s growing evidence that immune cells and molecules play a key role in normal brain development and function as well. But at the core of the burgeoning field of neuroimmunology lies a mystery: How […]

Immune system affects mind and body, study indicates

New research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis helps illuminate a surprising mind-body connection. In mice, the researchers found that immune cells surrounding the brain produce a molecule that is then absorbed by neurons in the brain, where it appears to be necessary for normal behavior. The findings, published Sept. 14 in […]

New center to explore brain, immune system connections

As the brain reigns supreme over the human body, the immune system works 24/7 to defend the body from foreign invaders. For decades, however, the brain and the immune system were thought to operate independently of one another. But a growing body of evidence suggests the two are intimately connected in keeping the body healthy. […]

Board of Trustees grants faculty appointments, promotions

At the Washington University in St. Louis Board of Trustees meeting May 1, several faculty members were appointed or promoted with tenure, effective July 1 unless otherwise indicated. Appointment with tenure  …Jonathan Kipnis as professor of pathology and immunology at the School of Medicine; Carolina B. Lopez as professor of molecular microbiology at the School of Medicine […]

Kipnis named BJC Investigator

Jonathan Kipnis, PhD, an internationally recognized scientific leader in how the nervous and immune systems interact in neurodegenerative, neuroinflammatory and neurodevelopmental disorders, has been named a BJC Investigator at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. He will join the Department of Pathology and Immunology, with secondary appointments in the neurology, neuroscience, and neurosurgery departements. Kipnis […]