Chinese researchers have discovered a new type of biological cells that accumulate in the spinal cords of humans and other primates and drive the process of spinal-cord aging, according to the Institute of Zoology under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).
The spinal cord is an important part of the central nervous system, and is essential for various life activities in humans and primates, but little is known about the mechanism of spinal-cord aging, said Liu Guanghui with the Institute of Zoology, one of the researchers.
The newly discovered cells, which belong to a category known as "microglia," accumulate in the spinal cords of old monkeys and humans, and drive the aging process of motor neurons.
The findings will help to better understand spinal-cord aging and chronic diseases in the elderly population, providing new ideas for delaying human spinal cord aging and preventing and controlling degenerative diseases, said Zhang Weiqi, one of the researchers, from the Beijing Institute of Genomics under the CAS.
The study was recently published online in the journal Nature.