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Under the microscope: Corpoa amylacea

This month: Corpora amylacea

What are corpora amylacea?
They are small hyaline masses found in the prostate gland, nervous system, lungs, and sometimes in other organs.

I’m guessing they’ve been in the news?
An article published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes a new pathway in the central nervous system to expel waste substances from the brain through the creation of corpora amylacea.

What did we previously know about corpora amylacea?
Human brain corpora amylacea were first described in 1837 by the prestigious anatomist and physiologist Jan Evangelista Purkinje. They are abundant in the brain of the elderly and those affected by neurodegenerative diseases who create excessive metabolic waste substances. However, the origins and function have been unknown by the scientific community for years.

What does the article cover?
It describes new features and reveals the determining role of these structures in the expelling of brain waste substances through pathways in which the nervous system, lymphatic system and immune system take part.

What does that mean?
The study conclusions state some waste substances in the brain can be removed thanks to the action of the astrocytes, which can pile up the waste compounds and store them as corpora amylacea. One of the authors compared them to “waste products containers”.

What happens next?
The relation described between corpora amylacea and the immune system opens new opportunities in neuroscience research. 

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