A study published in the medical journal Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease calls into question the main theory about the appearance of Alzheimer’s: which is produced by the aaccumulation of neuritic plaques in the brain.
According to a team of researchers, led by doctors from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio) Alberto Espay and Andrea Sturchio, the accumulation of these plaques is only a consequence of the decrease in the soluble levels of amyloid beta peptide.
Beta amyloid usually appears in the brain in a soluble form, although sometimes, under situations of metabolic, biological or infectious stress, it transforms into neuritic plaques, also called amyloid plaques, that are often used as biological markers for Alzheimer’s.
The findings are relevant in that many of the studies and clinical trials aimed at slowing disease progression focus on reducing the number of neuritic plaques in the brain, lead author Sturchio said in a news release.
However, until the announcement a few days ago that an experimental drug from the Japanese pharmaceutical company Eisai had achieved positive results when it came to slow the worsening of Alzheimer’snone of these tests had come to fruition.
In fact, the researchers note, some of these experiments showed that if you lowered the level of soluble amyloid beta in the brain, patients got worse.
The same team had already determined in previous studies that the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain was not necessarily accompanied by cognitive deterioration, while those with low levels of the peptide in soluble form were more likely to worsen.
Sturchio said the researchers’ next step will be to determine if increasing levels of soluble amyloid beta in the brain has positive effects on Alzheimer’s patients.
In addition, the researchers think that their results may provide clues to the development of other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s, based on the idea that the loss of normal proteins is more significant than the appearance of abnormal proteins.
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Peptides, which are distinguished from proteins by their shorter length, are natural molecules that play essential roles in all living organisms depending on their composition, such as sending biological messages between different tissues through the blood.
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