For years, scientists have been studying how the accumulation of toxic molecules in the brain could cause or contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. But it has been difficult figuring out what triggers the process that causes those molecules to start accumulating in the first place.
Now a team of researchers at Curtin University say that the “leak” of a toxic compound called beta-amyloid from the bloodstream could be the root of the problem, according to a mouse study published last week in the journal PLOS Biology. While it is not yet clear whether the same process occurs in humans, the discovery could provide scientists with a new way to track or monitor the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and, perhaps, help them develop new treatments to prevent it.
‘While we previously knew that the hallmark of people living with Alzheimer’s disease was the progressive accumulation of deposits of toxic proteins within the brain called beta-amyloid, researchers did not know where the amyloid originated or why it originated. it deposited in the brain, ”said study lead author and Curtin researcher John Mamo in a news release.
More specifically, the team discovered that beta-amyloid, a compound that accumulates in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s and has long been associated with the onset of dementia, forms outside the brain and is then transported by the bloodstream by lipoproteins.
In the new study, the scientists found that those lipoproteins tend to leak out, allowing toxic compounds to reach the brain and begin to accumulate. Mice that had higher levels of amyloid production also showed a higher degree of inflammation in the brain, suggesting a link between the compound and the onset of neurodegenerative disease.
“This ‘blood-to-brain pathway’ is important because if we can control blood levels of amyloid lipoprotein and prevent its leakage to the brain, this opens up new potential treatments to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and delay memory loss,” explained Mamo.
It would be necessary to confirm that the same link exists in humans before anyone can talk about new treatments for Alzheimer’s. But Mamo suggests in the statement that specific medications or even dietary changes could reduce the amount of amyloid in the bloodstream, which could help prevent or at least delay Alzheimer’s – and that’s great news in the fight against a, particularly horrible disease.