Scientists Reverse Alzheimer's and Improve Cognitive Function in Mice

Lena Kirakosyan's picture
Reversing Alzheimer's disease in mice

BACE1 finding reverses the formation of amyloid plaques in the mice who have Alzheimer's disease, opening a wide door for finding treatment for humans.

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The gradual elimination of an enzyme called BACE1 "completely reverses the formation of amyloid plaques" in the brains of mice with Alzheimer's. The cure for Alzheimer’s may be one step closer thanks to this study.

Raising Hopes for Alzheimer's Disease Drug for Huamsn

This "raises the hope" that drugs targeting that enzyme might be able to successfully treat the disease in humans.

Experts from the American Cleveland Clinic conducted a study, published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine, in which they claimed that, in addition to reversing plaque formation, "it improves the animal's cognitive function.”

One of the earlier manifestations of Alzheimer's is the abnormal accumulation of beta-amyloid peptide, which can form large amyloid plaques in the brain and disrupt the function of neuronal synapses.

BACE1 helps to produce beta-amyloid peptide, so that, as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's, drugs are being developed that inhibit it, but since this enzyme also has other functions, these drugs "could have important side effects.”

In fact, mice that lack the enzyme completely suffer from severe deficits of neurological development. The team of scientists, headed by Riqiang Yan, wanted to study whether inhibiting BACE1 in adults could be less harmful than in young rodents, so they created mice that gradually lost the enzyme as they got older, and, apparently, they remained healthy.

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Yan said that, as far as they are aware, “this is the first observation of amyloid deposits in any study of Alzheimer's disease in mice."

The reduction in BACE1 activity also resulted in a lower level of beta-amyloid peptide and "reversed other characteristics of Alzheimer's disease, such as the activation of microglia cells, and the formation of abnormal neuronal processes.”

The loss of BACE1 also "improved learning abilities and memory in mice" with Alzheimer's. However, electrophysiological recordings of rodent neurons showed that BACE1 depletion partially restored synaptic function, which "suggests" that this enzyme may be necessary for proper synaptic activity and cognition.

This study provides "genetic evidence" that amyloid deposits "can be completely reversed after the gradual and increased elimination of BACE1 in adults.”

The data shows that BACE1 inhibitors "have the potential to treat patients with Alzheimer's and without unwanted toxicity. Future studies should develop strategies to minimize synaptic deficiency resulting from significant inhibition of BACE1 to achieve maximum and optimal benefits for patients with Alzheimer's,” says Yan.

Two more exciting stories about Alzheimer's Treatment Research

1. Slow Down Alzheimer's Disease by Stimulating Brain Neurons. In this particular study, using brain stimulation, a metal spiral is placed on the head of an Alzheimer's patient and sends an electric shock to the surface of the patient's skull to stimulate the activity of neurons.

2. cDMARD Arthritis Drug Shows Strong Effect Halving Dementia Risk. Rheumatoid arthritis drugs have been shown to be a promising new treatment option for people with dementia, in a new study by the NIHR Southampton Biomedical Research Center.

Do you think that this is a step forward in finding the cure for the terrible disease that is Alzheimer’s?

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Comments

Alzheimer's cure can't come soon enough. It will take years.