News of the WeekNeuroscience

Immune Molecules Prune Neural Links

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Science  15 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5499, pp. 2051
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5499.2051a

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In work described on page 2155, a team of neuroscientists suggests that the class I major histocompatibility complex proteins, previously known for their role in controlling immune responses, also play a role in the nervous system. They are necessary for the formation of normal neuronal connections in a visual area of the brain during development, and later in life, they're called into play in the hippocampus, a brain area involved in memory and learning. The work shows a completely unexpected function for the immune system molecules.