A classic hallmark of neurological aging is the decline in white matter volume and loss of function.
However, little is known about the mechanisms by which aging leads to loss of white matter.
Among other things, white matter is a nerve fiber in the deep tissues of the brain that contains sphingolipids on its surface that rapidly propagate neural signals.
Recently, a study published in Nature Neuroscience revealed for the first time that adaptive immune responses promote white matter loss cells in aging.
Previously, scientists had found that the process of white matter loss promotes the production of microglia (a type of immune cell in the brain)
Microglia accelerate the removal of damaged sphingolipids from white matter.
In the new study, they sequenced the white matter of aged mice using single-cell RNA and
They detected that the production of CD8 T cells in the acquired immune response drives the formation of oligodendrocytes in response to interferon and reduces the number of oligodendrocytes that clear sphingolipids, leading to a greater susceptibility to inflammatory responses in white matter with volume and functional loss.