New Research Finds Out More About Protein Accumulation in Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that typically occurs among seniors. There are over five million patients with Alzheimer’s living in the US. The disease is the leading type of dementia, causing 60-80% of the cases. Some of the characteristics that help define Alzheimer’s include memory loss, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, and more.

Scientists are still trying to understand how to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The latest research digs into the details of how proteins accumulate in the brain of the cognitively ill individuals. It concludes that there are specific brain cells that are more prone to getting accumulated by proteins. Here’s is more about the research:

What Does the Research Say?

The latest research has been published in the journal Nature Neuroscience. It has been conducted from multiple academic institutions that include the University Medical Center in New York, NY, the Ohio State University in Columbus, Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY, and the Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

In the event of Alzheimer’s disease, the patient’s brain show signs of accumulation of toxic proteins. These include tau accumulates and beta-amyloid protein accumulates. In this study, the researchers learned about tau protein collections.

They learned that the tau proteins collect around specific brain cells. They also unveiled that particular genetic profiles may predispose an individual to tau aggregations around the neurons.

The Brain Cells That Are Vulnerable to Tau Proteins

Essentially, the brain is made up of different cell types. These include two vital cells named neurons and glial cells. Neurons are responsible for communicating information. They also play a critical role in cognitive function. At the same time, glial cells play multiple roles including protecting and supporting neurons and the connections between them.

Neurons further fall into two types known as the excitatory and inhibitory cells. The excitatory cells trigger electrical impulses, whereas, inhibitory cells balance the activity of the other neurons.

The researchers learned that the tau proteins were likely to accumulate around the excitatory neurons. The investigators learned this information by studying tau proteins accumulates in the mouse models and in the brains of people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

What Role Did the Genes Played?

The investigators learned that the gene, BAG3 had a role to play in the clearance of tau proteins. The gene may have the explanation for the neurons’ susceptibility to the formation of toxin plaques.

The team explained further that BAG3 was much higher in the neuronal cells than in the non-neuronal cells. Among these neurons, the expression was highest in the inhibitory neuron type. This suggests a possible explanation for their reduced likelihood of being sensitive to tau aggregates.

Bottom Line

There is still a lot more to learn about Alzheimer’s disease and how the brain cells communicate. If you are still young, it is best to take all the precautions steps to prevent the odds of developing the disease. For instance, eat a brain-friendly diet, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy social life among other things.