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Victoria, Chiropractor
Category: Health
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Experience:  25 years overall experience in health care from hospital-based intensive care to private practice
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What does gliosis and astrocytes found on an MRI Brain mean?

Resolved Question:

what does gliosis and astrocytes found on an MRI Brain mean?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Victoria replied 8 years ago.

When neurons in the brain are damaged, the astrocytes which are star-shaped cells that have a supportive neural function, rather than directly participating in sending or propagating neural messages/information, accumulate in the area of damage and proliferate forming a scar in the area of injury. It is the most important histological sign, signifying that an injury has indeed occurred. Gliosis is seen in association with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers, multiple sclerosis following an acute attak, Parkinson's, prion disease, etc. Demylination specifically refers to the white matter which respresents the myelin sheath which is a fatty covering that overlies and helps protect the nerve axons. Its integrity to critical to propagating the nerve impulse and when disrupted the signal gets disrupted such that the nerves are unable to adequately "talk" to the rest of the body. This is what occurs in MS or multiple sclerosis.
Ischemia is a lack of adequate blood flow to the tissues and if not reversed quickly, especially in the brain will lead to cellular injury and death. The astrocytes respond and accumulate and proliferate in the area of injury, forming a glial scar which may be seen on MRI. It is a nonspecific process in that responds to any type of neuronal damage or loss. After a stroke the neurons die and are replaced by gliosis. If unclear, feel free to ask further questions.

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