According to a new study, the brain’s immune cells can be triggered to slow down Alzheimer’s disease. The findings could lead to new treatments for the devastating neurodegenerative disorder.
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by the buildup of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain. These plaques are thought to trigger an inflammatory response, which contributes to the death of brain cells.
Now, researchers have found that microglia, the brain’s resident immune cells, can be harnessed to fight against beta-amyloid plaques.
In the study, published in the journal Nature, the researchers used a technique called genetic engineering to modify the microglia so that they would produce a protein called interleukin-4 (IL-4).
IL-4 is known to hinder the inflammatory response.
When the researchers injected the modified microglia into the brains of mice that had been bred to develop Alzheimer’s-like symptoms, they found that the progression of the disease was slowed.
What’s more, the treatment was found to be safe and well-tolerated by the mice.
The findings suggest that microglia can be repurposed to fight Alzheimer’s disease and, potentially, other neurodegenerative disorders.
While more research is needed, the findings offer new hope for the millions of people worldwide who are living with Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While there is no cure for the disease, there is growing evidence that the brain’s immune cells can be triggered to slow its progression.
Scientists have long known that the brain has its own immune system, composed of cells known as microglia. These cells are responsible for clearing out dead and damaged cells, as well as infectious agents.
Recent studies have shown that microglia can also play a role in Alzheimer’s disease. In healthy brains, microglia help to keep amyloid plaques (clumps of a protein that are a hallmark of the disease) in check. However, in brains with Alzheimer’s, the microglia become overactivated and begin to attack healthy cells.
Now, researchers believe they may have found a way to harness the power of microglia to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. In a new study, published in the journal Nature, scientists have shown that a protein called TREM2 can help to keep microglia in a healthy state.
When TREM2 is absent or dysfunctional, microglia become overactivated and begin to attack healthy brain cells. However, when TREM2 is present, microglia are able to keep amyloid plaques in check.
Scientists believe that by targeting TREM2, they may be able to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The findings offer new hope for the millions of people affected by this devastating condition.